GW Grognard: Your Codex is not the Problem, You are

Hey everyone! Adam, from TFG Radio, here to brighten your day with my cunning wordplay*

There is no way I could lose with this!

I belong to a lot of 40K groups. They are a few general competitive groups, but also include the army, or codex, specific ones. I think I am in at least 1 group, or page, on Facebook for every codex. I am also in a large number of chats and groups outside of the Facebook website. This includes places such as Messenger, Discord, and even a yahoo group that is still active. This doesn’t even take into account the amount of groups I am in for historical gaming. With the release of Chapter Approved, and the Vigilus Book, I am seeing a lot of people make new army lists to try out. I am also seeing a lot of people write extremely long posts on how their codex is not very good, and how is must be Games Workshop’s fault because they wrote a codex that the poster is unable to win with, thus Games Workshop has to fix it. Sorry tau** player, but you need to take a hard look in the mirror and realize that it’s you.

We all are, on some level

The army list can only do so much. Sure, there are tricks, combos, and units that lend themselves to a successful list. When it all comes together you get that victory that is well deserved.  However, the list can’t cover your inadequacies as a tabletop general. The codex merely provides the tools for you to use in order to achieve victory. As much as we want, our little models cannot fight the battles for us. This isn’t Gunpla Anime. Was it the codex that deployed your army in such a way that you lost before the first turn? Did the codex make your models shoot at a unit way in the back of the table, instead of the daemon prince right in front of you? Did your codex fail to remind you to place units on objectives to score points? Did the codex force you to choose certain units to place in your army? No, you are responsible for the outcome of your game. “But Adam,  I took the exact same list that won a GT and I am still losing games”, you say? Yeah, that’s probably because you either don’t have the experience to pilot the army the way a GT winner does, or you’re not “Seeing the Matrix” in how the army is supposed to function. In both cases those are a “you” problem and not the fault of a list or codex.

Ok, you may get a pass for this army

I do admit that some armies have a more difficult time than others. Each codex presents it’s own unique set of advantages and disadvantages***.  It can be extremely frustrating for some people and it can sometimes cause people to quit the army, or even the game. Almost every codex, however, does have a chance to be competitive on a consistent basis. Whether, it using a mix of Imperials to help bolster your Grey Knight army, or just using a mix of the different “chapter tactics” available to your army, there are ways to make your particularly army viable. You just need to experiment a little and see what works. Now, if you’re one of those that only want to run a “pure” army, without any help from any other codex, or “chapter tactic”, then i can’t help you as that is a “you” problem. Now excuse me while I get my all grot army ready.

That’s all for this week, I hope you enjoyed the read. Let me know your thoughts, and what you plan on doing to improve your game play, in the comments section. Don’t forget to visit our Facebook, Twitch, and Patreon pages to stay up to date on what we’re up to and when episodes drop!

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*Get your mind out of the gutter

**I totally picked Tau at Random

***Except Eldar, they have nothing but advantages


About Adam

Adam, aka Latin Gandalf, has been gaming since the early eighties and has played 40K since Rogue Trader (among a number of other games). He listens to more podcasts than any healthy person should and is currently the host for TFG Radio. He also is judges for LVO and head judges other major 40K Grand Tournaments.

27 Responses to “GW Grognard: Your Codex is not the Problem, You are”

  1. Avatar
    Chad December 15, 2018 1:54 am #

    I’m glad you have the Necrons image there. They have all the makings of a brutal army to try to make good. They are slow, short ranged, don’t have a psychic phase and while they can have a major alpha strike, it absolutely requires 1st turn to operate.

    I have friends who play them often and it is unfortunate that they got left out in the cold. The drop in troops cost will help, but it doesn’t make their stratagems any better or allow their army to compete with the top table stuff. It will take a master player or some amazing luck to make them mid grade at competitive events.

    • Avatar
      Pyrothem December 15, 2018 10:20 am #

      Was going to post something like this as well and in my groups it was known that CA could not help Necrons. Point drops can not fix an army that does not function.

      When an army has a win rate of 15% or less vs some armies point adjustment can not help. Chin up though Orks had years playing armies that did not function and had a hard earned reputation of being some of the best dude and dudets to play with. Some army has to take of that flag and it is Necrons turn.

      • Avatar
        Adam December 15, 2018 12:36 pm #

        We have a necron player that will not give them up and is always looking to improve with them. He knows he has an uphill battle, but he is always optimistic. the poor bastard 😉

        • Avatar
          David December 15, 2018 8:15 pm #

          Our Necron Player is unbeaten since his book dropped. I don’t know if I should praise his skill with the army or feel bad that we can’t beat his supposedly horrible codex.

          • Reecius
            Reecius December 15, 2018 9:50 pm

            Tell him to come to LVO! I’d love to see a Cron player break into the top 8!

          • Avatar
            Pyrothem December 16, 2018 10:26 pm

            Second Reece’s idea. Tried all I can think of but to no impact vs Kights or THE Eldar/Yannari list or the new Orks roll me. I can not find a way to break through to a W in the ITC format against formidable players.

            I would love to see the underdog surprise the Meta like lictorshame was :D.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind December 16, 2018 10:41 pm

            Yeah, the problem is that all vehicles fold over to the big 3:
            1. Castellan (2 damage)
            2. Reapers (2 damage)
            3. Lootas (2 damage)

            Turns out if the shielding doesn’t do jack – the T6 4+ is not good enough.

            So we’re back to infantry only.

  2. Avatar
    Xerxus December 15, 2018 2:19 am #

    “Whether, it using a mix of Imperials to help bolster your Grey Knight army”

    Hahahahaha improve your Grey Knights by replacing them!

  3. Avatar
    Nat3ski December 15, 2018 4:38 am #

    I have to disagree. If a codex can’t hold it’s ow without leaning on another codex, like imperial guard, then that is most surely a GW failure to write a competitive and balanced codex.

    Taking an underpowered codex and pairing it with an overpowered codex just to stand a chance seems like a game design flaw to me. A player should be able to run a pure army against another pure army and have decent chance of winning, assuming the general isn’t a moron and the dice tend to roll average.

    I still think the IGOUGO turn order is terrible at larger point values, and the game relies to heavily on gimmicky strategems and an arbitrary point system that favours some armies over other.

  4. Avatar
    Snarklord December 15, 2018 6:17 am #

    “Almost every codex, however, does have a chance to be competitive ”

    “using a mix of Imperials to help bolster your Grey Knight army”

    Your army is so competitive you need to replace it with a different one! LOL

    Do you think GW paid this author in guardsmen or this article is a form of Stockholm syndrome?

    • Avatar
      Adam December 15, 2018 12:33 pm #

      I wish I got paid in guardsman and cultists

      • Avatar
        Venkarel December 15, 2018 1:39 pm #

        But you do Adam it is called store credit.

        • Reecius
          Reecius December 15, 2018 1:52 pm #

          Lol, sure but that doesn’t come with any obligations to write anything other than what the author wants to write.

        • Avatar
          Adam December 15, 2018 3:59 pm #

          Not sure if it’s worth it. I have to listen to Reece talk about his 1800’s mustache collection

  5. Avatar
    Jarrett December 15, 2018 10:03 am #

    Interesting read. I’m a noob and part time player, but I definitely think there are some issues with space Marines that will keep them from being competitive at their current point costs.

    • Avatar
      Adam December 15, 2018 12:37 pm #

      Most armies have some issues. Ideally all units would be viable, but there is a reason you don’t see chaos mutilators on the table

  6. Avatar
    Victor December 15, 2018 11:07 am #

    I agree with your stament that the IGOUGO system its terrible, it favours a lot gunlines with the first turn. I tried writing a “Kill team like” alternating system and I found a few problems with it:

    1-not for moron or unexperienced players. If you choose the wrong unit to shoot first at the wrong target an experienced player its going to target your most valuable unit without it having done nothing. The moron/unexpirienced player is going to take longer to play his turn because he has to decide what to do with his units one by one and not what to do with his army as a whole. My only playtester was an unexperienced player who didn’t learn even the basic rules in two years

    2-It penalises assault units because opponent has one adittional round to shoot them

    • Avatar
      Adam December 15, 2018 12:35 pm #

      Unfortunately the Igo-Ugo system isn’t going anywhere soon. I, personally, wouldn’t mind an alternating unit activation or even the AoS method of the double turn

      Warlord Games has a unique was to determine which unit activate. Both players place a die for each unit and pull from a bag. Whoever die is pulled, gets to activate a unit

      • Avatar
        Lord Toranaga December 15, 2018 1:14 pm #

        Allessio Cavatore and Rick Priestley have really hit upon a gem with Bolt Action and their subsequent games’ dice alternate activation mechanic, and I wish GW would move more in that direction.

        As rules designers for the first few editions of 40k, (3rd ed. being one of the leaner cleaner rulesets of the series) they’ve really innovated the alternate activation to a point where games of Bolt Action, etc… are super engaging, action packed, and actually tactical, unlike the ‘alpha strike’ lottery of 40k these days.

        I really believe alternate activation makes players think on their toes, balances out the luck of the draw, and speeds up the game. I encourage 40k players to try these other systems out, see how innovative they are, and then pressure GW into moving 40k more in that direction as they have with Kill Team and Blackstone Fortress.

        • Avatar
          Adam December 15, 2018 4:01 pm #

          I agree. In the 2nd edition Epic 40K they had alternating activation. I am also currently building my Cruel Seas Japanese Fleet. that game is a lot of fun

  7. Avatar
    WestRider December 15, 2018 11:38 am #

    Yeah, I’d agree, for the most part. There have been a handful of Dexes over the years that were just irredeemably awful, and/or aged so badly as to eventually become that bad, but fewer than most might think. The times I’ve had complaints about a Codex, they almost universally weren’t “this is a bad Codex”, they were “this isn’t the codex that I want it to be.” The Tyranid Codex over the last few Editions has been a good example. There were always ways to make it work, sometimes very well indeed, but they didn’t match the image I had in my head of what a Tyranid Army “should” be.

    • Avatar
      Office Waaagh! December 16, 2018 10:28 am #

      As much as hive tyrant spam isn’t exactly fluffy, I don’t necessarily think the top tier competitive lists can be expected to fit the lore since they’re going to rely on finding the most powerful possible combinations, usually by stacking mechanics and special characters abilities or something similar. None of the codexes lend themselves terribly well to making top tier fluffy armies, IMHO.

      My wife has always just played Tyranids with whatever models she had lying around, she’s never used a dakkafex or malanthrope in her life, and she’s always done just fine in our group or in pickup games across the last three editions on the occasions that she’s played. For the most part fluffy lists are fine if you’re not in a truly competitive setting, in my experience.

      • Avatar
        WestRider December 16, 2018 3:48 pm #

        Stealer Shock worked pretty well for a while, and was totally fluffy. Some of the 4th Ed Nidzilla variants weren’t bad on the fluff front, either. But, perhaps most importantly to me, pre-Lootaz 4th Ed was the last time that Tyranid Warriors were really excellent.

        Again, not saying that the Nid Dexes since then have been bad, they just haven’t been good at running the kind of Nid Army that I want to run. Or, in other words, the problem is with me, not the Dex.

  8. Faitherun
    Faitherun December 15, 2018 1:56 pm #

    As someone who played Dark Eldar since they first came out, and ever since, I have to agree. A codex may have an up-hill battle, but that can only help to make a player better. You end up having to play to the mission. (Now, I may argue there are some bad or heavily skewed missions….)

    I do believe that there are some up-hill struggles this edition too, as there always will be – but typically those are things that do indeed come down to the player, not the codex

  9. Avatar
    Jblackett December 16, 2018 2:44 am #

    Haha I couldn’t wait to finish this article cuz I knew it would be a bunch of tears on the bottom of the page.

    I wasn’t disappointed.

  10. Avatar
    b00gnish December 18, 2018 6:01 am #

    This is absolutely true for the casual local meta and tourney scene, but at the top level competitive scene some armies simply cannot hold their own, regardless of player skill. Other games have similar issues though (WM/H). That’s why I steer clear of hyper competitive play altogether.

  11. Avatar
    Matt February 5, 2019 8:12 am #

    You’re just wrong. proves that some armies and combos are vastly superior and that some armies are NOT competitive. Player skill is critical, but’s not pretend that some armies are currently in the dumpster and so far GW has not taken any steps to help those armies.

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