Chapter Tactics #133: What GW Needs to Do to Tone Down Iron Hands and How to Compete Until They Do

Chapter Tactics is a 40k podcast which focuses on promoting better tactical play and situational awareness across all variations of the game. Today Pablo, Skari, Brandon Grant, and Abusepuppy use game design elements and talk about what GW needs to do in order to nerf Iron Hands and bring balance to the meta. Also, the guys talk about the lists they plan on running to counter the new Iron Hands meta, and talk a little bit about what you can do to whether the storm and compete.

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Show Notes:




About Petey Pab

Aspiring 40k analyst, tournament reporter and Ultramarines enthusiast, Petey Pab only seeks to gather more knowledge about the game of 40k and share it with as many people as he can in order to unite both hobbyists and gamers. We are, after all, two sides of the same coin.

75 Responses to “Chapter Tactics #133: What GW Needs to Do to Tone Down Iron Hands and How to Compete Until They Do”

  1. Rob Butcher October 15, 2019 1:21 am #

    Why nerf when the other supplements nor Chapter Approved 2019 haven’t been released yet? I’m still waiting to see the Imperial Fists Supplement and how it differs. Or how other invented Chapters use similar Chapter traits with heavy weapons.

    Why nerf when it’s still ten days to get the Impulsor and Incursors/Infiltrators ?

    Why nerf when you could simply add more terrain to competition tables to stop LoS? Or run armies against which heavy weapons aren’t as effective. (I ran a light infantry Gaunt’s Ghosts in 2004 that simply couldn’t be killed off in 5 turns … there were a lot more models than available shots.)

    I’d rather wait until after Heat 4 of the GW GT … and the GW Final. The 40K studio will be watching and will see what needs changing.

    This is a change, but the different metas around the world will adapt. They always do. It’s great to see the thunderfire cannons being used again (I got mine after reading articles by Reece last year.) And two hunters!!

    • Zweischneid October 15, 2019 1:29 am #

      Nerf because it’s too good? Same reason we needed changes to Maelific Lords and 4++ Brimstones with full smite and endless Poxwalkers and the Castellan, etc..

      More armies/models appearing in the future doesn’t make it less broken against existing armies. With virtually all factions now having a Codex after slogging through 2 years of imbalance, the game should be at it’s best right now, not it’s worst.

      Meta adapting as it did with the Castellan and banishing models that cannot hold against that firepower isn’t a solution. That’s part of the problem. Codexes need to be balanced against all armies and models, not just a select few, invalidating large sections of the model range.

      Adding more terrain and more LOS-block house rules isn’t a solution, it’s a symptom of the problem. The game ought to be playable with regular GW terrain as presented in GW pictures in White Dwarf. If terrain would have to change to keep the game playable, it’s the best sign that the patient is sick.

    • Petey Pab October 15, 2019 10:34 am #

      Remember, the reason I said I had some urgency in the podcast was because these Iron Hands rules won’t get addressed again until the April FAQ, almost 7 months from now. Ynarri almost ruined the game in less time.

      It’s important that you share your thoughts and opinions, because GW needs to see where we stand as a community. I suspect that they are delaying the Iron Hands FAQ because they realize exactly how important it is going to be.

      • Pellesvall October 15, 2019 11:40 pm #

        I think ITC and TO’s can do something already. ITC can change secondaries for example. Make a ”big fly hunter” for example where you get 2p for killing a flying vehicle, make flyers unable to score recon and linebraker etc. Killing a repulsor is a lot harder than killing a Rhino and should be rewrded in secondaries. TO’s are free to make their own missions like you said in the podcast and if they fear one faction will totally dominate the scene they can act.
        If there are more objectives than 4 that promotes troops more, if the missions promote boardcontrol more few units with raw power will not be that dominating.

  2. Nightman October 15, 2019 3:12 am #

    (This is just speculation) If you look at AMA’s from previous rules designers at GW (reddit), they have atleast in the past received pressure from corporate/sales to reduce point cost on models to sell more of them. Good example would be the wraithknight in 6th.

    I have no idea how the rules and sales team interact at present date, but i find it hard to beleive the powercreep is unintentional considering the amount of qualified playtesters working with the rules team.

    Maybe Psychic Awakening will bring balance to the force, but regardless of that (as a space marine player) i am not a fan of the increased volatility due to buffing offence more than defense for marines in general (except iron hands, but lets forget they exist for a moment)

    Ravenguards turn 1 alpha strike potential directly contradicts what GW has been working towards the last couple of years. Or the extremly offensive power and syngery of Ultramarine units.

    In a perfect world making great models and solid rules should also equate to the largest growth, but i suspect that GW knows what they are doing and are following the best strategy on behalf of their shareholders. Unfortunately there is not much to do with this, it’s just a bummer.

    On a positive note, they did a great job with making the chapters feel different.

    • Petey Pab October 15, 2019 10:36 am #

      Interesting points, and I agree with you about the chapters. They all feel different and like different armies. In general GW did a good job.

      Like I mentioned a little in the show, I just think GW over did it with Space Marines. They gave them so many buffs cumulatively over the past year, and I personally think this isn’t the power level they want for the game.

      • Nightman October 15, 2019 1:38 pm #

        If this is a taste of the future for all factions, the game is about to get even better with tons of flavor. I guess we just have to pucker up for a little while and see what the future brings.

        • abusepuppy October 15, 2019 8:58 pm #

          If Psychic Awakening is a taste of what other factions are getting, it’s not even close to enough to bring them in line with SM.

  3. Chad October 15, 2019 4:26 am #

    When my child does something wrong intentionally or not we have taught him to apologize. Iron Hands was either a blatant cash grab or egregious error in judgement. At this point I’d like to see an apology from GW and not just an FAQ. Then did a lot to damage their reputation with this release. They have got to understand this by now. I don’t know the answer to their current balance issues, but I didn’t make $220 million last year developing miniatures games like they did.

  4. Kristjan Blondal October 15, 2019 5:15 am #

    Sorry to say Pablo and Sean are a super bad mix and they motivate each other negativity.

    The hobby deign section was really bad and just whiny. Skari was the only one that made sense.

    Sorry but the cast is not working together and was just 2 hours of negative opinions and sorry Sean is just not good in this show.

    So sadly the cast/show is on the downhill while the network is going great.

    • R3v0lv3r October 15, 2019 5:35 am #

      I don`t think Sean is negative, just expressing his personal realistic opinion.

      • Kristjan Blondal October 15, 2019 5:54 am #

        Well for my taste he comes across snide and a tad elitist and i actually feel he is not bringing the sauce to the show.

        • R3v0lv3r October 15, 2019 6:51 am #

          I feel he is doing good, expressing his own opinion and it give also dept in the podcast. He is the only one that is setting on the table drastic measures. Also he manage to voice a lot of people views – that it`s impossible that GW did not know about the problem, that it`s impossible that plasterers did not saw it. I like Skari but the optimistic opinion that you have hit the wall with your head until the wall breaks don`t have appeal for me.

          • Kristjan Blondal October 15, 2019 6:55 am

            That is all fine and dandy, but this emphases lessens my longing to listener to the podcast while it strengthens yours.

            So my point with this is they lose a listener and strengthen another which is great.

            But 2 hours of negativity is draining so think i will just take your advice and drop it from my listening schedule.

          • Pyrothem October 15, 2019 4:03 pm

            I like the real talk. To have it out in a frank discussion it why I love this podcast.

            Gods I wish Geoff was still with us. His rant about this would have been truly epic!

          • Reecius October 15, 2019 5:20 pm

            One of the meany things we miss about him =(

          • Petey Pab October 15, 2019 4:54 pm

            Damn it Pyro… I was having a rough time Monday evening while editing thinking the same thing. I miss him.

          • Pyrothem October 16, 2019 8:31 am

            Yeah trying to keep the lessons he gave not just me in StarCraft but all games alive and fresh. Even in a blowout game where you get rolled there are learning moments. There are things you could do better even it if is just keeping your cool and not letting your emotions get the better of you. Don’t just focus on X unit is broken or X dice roll did not go your way, think of all the things that can temper those swings.

            From a Sarcraft tutoring:

            “When you lose because you will don’t be a little bitch and just moan about it learn from it….. you are right though X unit is a problem but use that against them because you know they will almost always use it so you can plan around it. Knowing your opponents starting build is incredibly powerful tool that they do not have use it.”

            Miss ya Geoff.

    • Zweischneid October 15, 2019 5:35 am #

      Really, I had the exact opposite impression.

      A competitive podcast should be able to point to problems in the competitive game, which Sean and Pablo did.

      I admire Skari’s optimism, but at this point he’d be better served on a GW marketing cast or something. People who cannot see through basic math shouldn’t be discussing competitive 40K.

      • Kristjan Blondal October 15, 2019 5:52 am #

        You just nailed the elitism that bugged my in the show by showing it yourself.

        Good work Sir,

        • Zweischneid October 15, 2019 6:36 am #

          What elitism? I heard no claim or even attempt in the podcast that some specific group should hold authority over anything. It was just discussing tournament results and the unfavourable math of Marines vs. non-Marines.

          Math is math and facts are facts. If you cannot speak plainly about facts, why have a podcast at all?

          Or is that “elitism” in the sense of some trumpian attempt to discredit objectivity on principle?

          • B. Raven October 15, 2019 10:45 am

            I am also disappointed with Skari’s comments. The problem is NOT that someone can’t come up with a list to beat them, it is that you have an army with a very low skill cap that will win probably 80% of its games against other armies. This is the Tau of 7th edition that allowed players to pick up a few models, spend a week reading the rules and then go 4 – 1 at a GT. I don’t want to play that game. We are entering a period where pure talent and years of experience will be trumped by your opponents’s choice of an army!

          • Dakkath October 16, 2019 6:47 pm

            I believe you mean the Riptide Wing of 7th ed. As the more tau you added to your army beyond that the worse is did most of the time.

    • Petey Pab October 15, 2019 10:51 am #

      Hey man, sorry you feel that way. Some people also like Sean, and I understand everyone has there preferences.

      Also, as a quick aside, the episode was only 90ish minutes long. Normally I wouldn’t bother correcting you but I was just so proud of getting it to within a reasonable time lol. So, after the intro and some questions, it was only like an hour of negative opinions. Which aligns more with the industry standard.

      • Bk October 15, 2019 11:43 am #

        I like Sean’s input as it tends to be straightforward and not watered down.

    • abusepuppy October 15, 2019 9:00 pm #

      Having a negative opinion about a negative subject shouldn’t be surprising. I’m aware I’m taking a pessimistic view of the subject, but that is not accidental. I think Skarri and Reece’s optimism about the subject is highly misplaced in this case, and I think that recent tournament results back me up on this.

      • hedgehog612 October 16, 2019 9:34 am #

        Sean, being a fairly regular listener of this and many other shows you contribute to or produce (In the Finest Hour) I normally look forward to your commentary and insights when it comes to this game as well as the competitive 40k scene; but I definitely notice a very negative, somewhat condescending attitude when you are on chapter tactics and the subject of space marines comes up (episode 125 stood out as well). Which makes for a somewhat unpleasant listening experience when you are normally fairly objective on your commentary of the meta. Can you please show us on the Riptide where the big bad space marine hurt you? With that being said do you think if they were to fix IH the rest of the SM codex and supplements would fall into a natural place with the rest of the meta or do y’all really think all SM are just too op?

  5. Saieden October 15, 2019 5:23 am #

    I absolutely agree that GW need to start doing quarterly updates for Matched Play, and update points at least bianually. I think they just haven’t quite grasped what it means to maintain a game competitively.

    I would be totally on board for a temporary ban in tournaments of the supplements, minus datasheets (I still think everyone should be allowed to bring their toys), because as Sean said, if something isn’t done soon, players will leave the scene and the negative perception will spread and deter a lot of new players joining.

    • Petey Pab October 15, 2019 10:39 am #

      Yay! Someone who listened to the show. I appreciate you so much right now.

      The temporary ban idea is something we as a community just have to be really delicate about.

      • Saieden October 16, 2019 6:04 am #

        @pab you’re welcome! I mean that’s what shows are are for, right?

        Agreed, I think we do need to give the faq a chance, at least. But if GW just stick their head in the sand and pretend nothing is wrong, drastic measures will be required at community level to prevent a wholesale drop in tournament attendance.

        I do have suggestions of my own though for SM in general to work with supplements.

        1. Doctrines need to be for activated for a single battle round only, but otherwise function the same with respect to progression. Stratagems of course need to be reworked and costed/limited appropriately for an army wide buff activation.

        2. Enhanced doctrines need drawbacks that expose tangible weaknesses.

        3. No chapter tactic should give a single model more than 2 buffs. Eg, IH infantry overwatch on 5+, don’t get 6+++.

        4. Relics require reserve points.

        5. Limit character dread strat, RG redeploy/DS, other similar ones to once only, or 1/3 CP for 1/2.

        • Nick Wenker October 16, 2019 8:11 am #

          Here are my suggestions for fixing the issues:

          Each doctrine is one battle round per game only

          Chapter Master rerolls only allow rerolls of 1 for overwatch (I’d be fine with this being a game-wide rule for any “reroll all hits” buff)

          UM strat to loop in 3 nearby units for overwatch is 3 cp instead of 2 CP

          +3″ range successor tactic doesn’t effect flamer weapons

          Ironstone is just one nearby vehicle chosen at the start of your opponent’s shooting phase, only lasts for the shooting phase

          Ironstone doesn’t stack with dread strat to half damage

          Reduce all damage on a dread by half strat is 2 CP instead of 1 CP

          Character dread strat is one use only

          Thunderfire cannons and Leviathan 2x stormcannon dreads should be more expensive than they are

          In my view, those few changes would already go a LONG way to fixing the issues.

    • Rob Butcher October 15, 2019 12:44 pm #

      Leave the scene ??

      What scene ? 10,000k played in the ITC last year. More than use the GW shops weekly in the East of England alone. Millions play this game, yet only the small minority of competitive players keep getting mentioned. Sales at Christmas to twelve year olds will dramatically outsell those to “tournament players”. Many of those won’t update their rules until the next edition with a new version is released.

      Why should a minority of vocal players dominate the game ? Just because they have podcasts et al and want to earn a living from a hobby ? Should they make the decisions instead of Stu Black and Robin Cruddance of the 40K Design Team ?

      • Reecius October 15, 2019 1:04 pm #

        Rob, you throw around a lot of pseudo facts, lol.

        12k registered in the ITC, not 10 and many times that many participated but never registered.

        And where do you get the rest of this data from? How do you possibly know what sales volume tournament players vs. 12 year olds is? GW doesn’t even know that in all likelihood as it’s so difficult to determine how people play the game.

        And while a minority of the hobby community, I totally agree and all the data I have seen indicates that that is true, the competitive community also in many ways drive the hobby. They produce the largest amount of content about the game and tend to be very active community members. The feedback is so valuable in fact that people like Robin and Stu go to events so they can see how the game is being played in reality and to talk to competitive gamers. They value all hobbyists of course, but they know that while a small percentage of the overall community matched play gamers have an inordinate impact on the hobby as a whole.

        • Cavalier October 15, 2019 3:27 pm #

          @ Rob+Reece- The whole tournament play crowd standing apart from other modes of play is such a false dichotomy IMO. Every gaming group I’ve ever been a part of tries to build around the good combinations of whatever faction they play- and most of the time they are good combos discovered by tourney players. If there is a problem in the tournament scene with an army or unit, its most likely causing a problem everywhere else.

          • Reecius October 15, 2019 5:22 pm

            Yeah, everyone is a bit of all of the facets of the hobby, honestly.

          • Gorgon Envy October 16, 2019 8:56 am

            Someone once pointed out, that if the base ruleset is tight and works for tournament players, it works for everyone else. If it’s a great beer-and-pretzels ruleset, it doesn’t work for everyone else. And I don’t have a problem if there’s a tight base ruleset, but it’s clear that some expansions (even some factions) are for narrative play, fluff, etc. City Fight doesn’t have to be tournament ready, but it can be a neat expansion. And going to Bloodbowl, the halfling team was never intended to be that competitive.

      • Zweischneid October 15, 2019 1:05 pm #

        True to a degree. Competitive is a small part of the hobby (and 40K clearly meant to be the non-competitive “sunday afternoon game”, while stuff like Shadespire or Kill Team Arena are in all design-aspect much, much better suited to the e-sport, streaming and comptitive aspirations).

        But while the competitive scene is tiny overall, I think it mostly correlates with overall success of the line.

        A shrinking and burnt-out competitive crowd in the late days of 7th roughly correlated with GW sliding a bit (if from, at the time, record years in 2012/2013).

        A revitalized competitive scene in 8th ran parallel to record profits at GW in the recent years.

        If anything, I believe the competitive scene will hang in there slightly longer than the majority of average players if the game “becames unfun”, both because competitive players are more heavily invested into the game, to the point of some even having build side-businesses/hobbies broadcasting their 40K gaming, and partly because all the tournament houserules like ITC los-blocking and ever-more ludicrous terrain mitigates some of the worst game-play problems, which are far worse with just a box of GW terrain and a small foam hill or two playing with RAW rules (similar to how comp and FLG FAQs kinda made the game slightly longer playable in 7th than it was for the average hobby-guy).

        • abusepuppy October 15, 2019 9:06 pm #

          It’s like the correlation between professional and amateur sports. The pro leagues of, say, American football make up only a tiny, tiny fraction of people who play the sport- but their recognition and influence on the game greatly outmatches the actual percentage of players they represent.

          Tournaments only represent a small fraction of the games played, but they are the most visible part of the game and hence what many players draw their information from. Broadly speaking, tournaments set the pace for the rest of the game (or, if looked at differently, are a reflection of what is happening to the game as a whole.) Even people who don’t care in the slightest about competitive play are still affected by what happens at tournaments, albeit indirectly.

  6. Nick Wenker October 15, 2019 9:50 am #

    After playing against Space Marines at recent events, I made the decision yesterday to cancel all my remaining tournaments for 2019 and wait for Chapter Approved. For context, I’ve been playing at tournaments every edition since third edition and have seen all the worst things, and this is the first time I made the decision to stop going to events. I’ve talked to a lot of other players on my faction(s) and they also told me they recently decided to quit going to tournaments. I am on the fence about cancelling LVO depending how much faith I have in Chapter Approved.

    My concern is that it’s not just Iron Hands, it’s the bucket of boons and design philosophy generally of the SM codex and the supplements. What made me feel like there’s no point in any lists I make wasn’t even Iron Hands, it was Ultramarines.

    I feel like IH are easy point-and-clicks but UMs are even better in the hands of a good player. With things like Chapter Master reroll everything, +3″ flamers and Leviathans from successor traits, 2-3x Leviathans and a Centurion or Aggressor bombs are all doing overlapping overwatch (2 CP to loop in 3 nearby units) with reroll everything and reroll 1s to wound. In some games I was losing full-health Chaos Knights and Disco Lords left and right just to overwatch alone. Even when I make it in, it just falls back and shoots with the -1 penalty not mattering with a Chapter Master nearby. If I’d gone with Bloodletters or Plaguebearers in a list instead, it would have been even worse.

    Besides UMs I am sure Salamanders and Imperial Fists will also be nuts. I have limited faith that Chapter Approved will nerf the SM codex and FW Dreads drastically enough to make me and others reverse course on quitting events. It’s hard to be optimistic when you got excited about 8th getting more and more diverse and balanced, and then GW does a 180 and drops a giant turd on top of all that progress with the SM codex and supplements.

    • Petey Pab October 15, 2019 10:47 am #

      Hey man, I respect your decision and hope GW can get you to come back before the year is up.

      People need to understand that there are people like you who are just fed up with the game as it stands. I appreciate you voicing your opinion, but for every Nick Wenker out there who posts why they are unsatisfied with the game, there is another person who silently leaves the game and never returns, and there are 10 other people who call people like you whiners, or say “Get Gud Scrub”. Which is just toxic and sad.

      • Nick Wenker October 15, 2019 11:59 am #

        Thanks buddy. I agree. I said on my FB blog that I was quitting competitive 40k until this was addressed and I was shocked by how many people responded saying they recently came to the same conclusion over these releases and what they’ve experienced as a result.

        I was all for SMs getting buffed even if I don’t bring my SMs to tournaments because I like seeing the army on the tables and thought SMs were very underpowered. Now you have the opposite issues almost overnight of so many people either quietly switching to UMs/IHs or just not showing up anymore.

    • Gorgon Envy October 15, 2019 12:57 pm #

      I’m supposed to play in a tourney in 3 weeks and was taking Dark Angels. I’ve not finished the army, and honestly, after losing all 3 games at the last one, I may bail out. My other option is T’au, which might be more competitive, but honestly, I just don’t enjoy them right now. There’s a few good units, which you have to spam to be competitive, and if you take something else, you just lose. So, you’re not the only one that feels like dropping from the hobby. I have neither the time or money to chase the OP Army of the Month.

    • abusepuppy October 15, 2019 9:07 pm #

      You’re not alone in this. I’ve dialed back a lot on 40K events as well because I simply don’t think there is any army that I can build out of the factions I own that has any reasonable chance of beating Space Marines in the hands of a good player.

  7. AlamoMelt October 15, 2019 12:46 pm #

    Regarding going to digital (possibly subscription) rules, I think it’s a great idea. I was hoping the mini-rule book would be quietly updated with all the most recent material, but that’s crazy.

    For what it’s worth (and frankly it’s not much) the digital codices and rulebook sold as “enhanced” editions through the iTunes Store for Apple’s ecosystem are already /supposed/ to be a living document updated to reflect the most recent FAQ and Chapter Approved point changes.

    In practice, they only *mostly* are updated. For months after release the Drukhari book had major omissions that weren’t addressed in a timely manner (Succubus with no combat drugs, for instance). The Harlequin codex still hasn’t been updated with the April FAQ regarding the changes to Flip Belts (fly), so I still have to have a copy of the FAQ handy.

    It doesn’t bode well for GW’s commitment to the concept.

    • abusepuppy October 15, 2019 9:09 pm #

      The “living” versions are also only for the iTunes versions, not the ones available for Android/etc. It’s a very half-assed attempt at doing things.

      GW has, historically, been absolutely terrified of the internet and what it can bring. Even now, they are very reluctant to interact with it, I think.

  8. Zweischneid October 15, 2019 1:14 pm #

    I think, if Space Marines are …

    a) truly reasonably balanced between each other
    b) have rules that correspond well to how Marines should feel and how they are in the fluff
    c) allow for multiple strong builds even within different supplements and it isn’t just one or two abusive combination ..

    .. they would be incredibly easy to “fix” (relatively speaking) with just a good ol points increase.

    If it isn’t an unanticipated result of a more fundamental game mechanic such as allies (as with was with the Castellan/BA Captains using Guard CP) or the quirks of a singular mechanic (e.g. Soulburst making it hard to balance Ynnari-Spears with non-Ynnari Spears), GW should just re-print in CA or a pdf the 5 or so pages from the back of the Marines Codex with a flat 15% or so point increase (not saying this is the right number, just spitballing).

    You’d keep all the diversity. You’d keep all the shock-and-awe awesomeness Marines ought to have. You keep all the carefully crafted internal balance. You simply bring the entire “Marine-construct” down from 80% win-rates to be within (ideally) a roughly 50% win rate region with the rest of the Codexes out there.

  9. Darius October 15, 2019 1:19 pm #

    Really? Supplement has been out for two weeks, and now people are saying that either you ban all marine supplements, or the worldwide tournament scene is dead?

    IH are overpowered, that much is obvious, but I don’t understand this weird sense of urgency that this particular overpowered book and it’s overpowered relic is the deathblow unless it’s dealt with right now. Castellan dominated tournaments for months and months as it was slowly nerfed bit by bit, and there was no mass abandoment of tournaments.

    8th has been nothing but one thing being the best thing and everything else below it, be it castellan, stormraven spam or any of the other half dozen things we have seen. GW has addressed each of them on their own, and the game has thrived. I don’t understand why the community would have to make an expection for this and houserule some bans for something that is going to be nerfed in few months anyway, just like everything else overpowered in 8th has been.

    • Zweischneid October 15, 2019 1:55 pm #

      Well, the Castellan being broken for months and months was part of the problem. It’s not like there weren’t people who did see the Castellan and/or 3++ Knights being a problem right away.

      If there had been less Knight-appeasment back in the day and more voice given to the people that did point out the problems with Knights, it possibly could’ve been fixed in the 2-week FAQ in June 2018, and not have wasted everyone’s time for over a year.

    • Petey Pab October 15, 2019 5:00 pm #

      Hey Darius, I explained the urgency in the episode. At least, my sense of urgency. The Iron Hands FAQ is GW’s last chance to reign in the power level of that supplement. If they don’t do that then the next time Iron Hands will be addressed will be in the April FAQ. Almost 7 months away.

      Do you know how long it took Ynarri to ruin 7th edition and hurt GW’s sales? It was less then 7 months. People are already discouraged and thinking about dropping out. And I don’t blame them. It’s very easy to hang up your paint brushes and try out a new game. MtG is surging right now, X-wing is about to have a world championship, and there are more games then ever competing for people’s time and money.

      Also, no, I don’t think Psychic Awakening, Sisters, or anything else they release will be on the same level is Space Marines. I truly believe that this isn’t the power level GW wants for the game, and that power creep among the factions would make things worst.

      • Darius October 16, 2019 1:48 am #

        I played through 7th edition, I remember. Which is why I know that IH don’t even come close to the dark days at the latter half of 7th, with invisible soulbursting wraithknights, endlessly jumping warp spiders and immortal deathstars.

        I just don’t see 40k tournament scene “ruined” in mere 7 months, if only because there will be dozen new books by then. Awakening or sisters won’t do anything, but imperial fists might, and whatever we don’t know about coming after them. They won’t fix IH, but they might be just as broken. It won’t improve the state of the game one bit, but they will join IH as the top table army.

        If by April there are only 2-3 armies that really compete, one of them being IH, then the situation won’t be much different from what it is now.

        The way how I see it, either IH are the killer of the hobby people are making it to be and GW will have to fix it soon, or they aren’t, and they will be addressed in April and everyone will find a new broken thing to hate.

        Anyway, IH errata isn’t even out yet, and it being delayed is very suspicious. For all we know, all this panic will be moot by the end of the week.

    • abusepuppy October 15, 2019 9:11 pm #

      Marines will dominate the tournament scene significantly more than the Castellan ever did. They are posting win rates of 80%+, which is higher than either than the Castellan or Ynnari ever got to (and there are significantly more of them.)

      Banning the supplements is _one_ possible solution, not necessarily the only one. The long we wait on coming up with something, the more people are going to decide that they simply don’t want to play the game as it is and will stop going to events, buying models, and interacting with the community.

  10. Thomas the Tank October 15, 2019 1:35 pm #

    I think this is why there are 40k friendly events now at some of the major GTs. Let the hardcore competitive players duke it out with super cheesy lists or take the hottest thing like Iron Hands and burn through the meta. Eventually, they will all just move to the next best thing and then the next bitch session begins. Its an endless loop of hate.

    I quit competitive 40k and the ITC league a while ago because I just got tired trying to keep up with the meta and the cries for changing the rules. The match play rules GW has are fine and I wish they just make hyper-competitive rules set or have the ITC bring back their FAQ to continue to adjust to the competitiveness of those who want to win it big in the ITC. I will stick to the friendly and narrative side.

    Why doesn’t everyone just have a big long episode about all the things they want to change about armies across the board and just get it all out there. Why don’t we just make every army the same and play that way. No special rules, no stratagems, nothing. GW makes these armies unique to their backstory and lets the players decide who they want to choose, collect, and paint. All we do nowadays is talk about the latest hotness, pick up the latest hotness, and continue the bandwagon to go forth.

    I will always support what GW does and creates but letting tournaments run the show and drive the FAQ is just dumb. They designed this stuff for a reason, just sit back and enjoy the ride. If you don’t like one armies’ way to mitigate damage or have a super sweet cheap character, play something different, learn better strats and get better to defeat it. Quit the sob story and move on. Most of us will anyways.

    • abusepuppy October 15, 2019 9:12 pm #

      The casual scene will be affected as well, because it’s not as if the broken parts of the books stop working when you leave a tournament. Bad rules balance makes for bad play in all formats.

      • AlamoMelt October 16, 2019 12:07 pm #

        Lately I only play casual games. I’m discouraged that the power level baked into basic space marine seems to require pulling out the dick-punch options (such that they are) in my codexes. That tends to lead to feels bad man experiences.

        Of course, we can just agree not to bring the Iron Stone buff aura thing, or flyer spam, or whatever since it’s more relaxed.

    • NinetyNineNo October 16, 2019 7:37 am #

      “If you don’t like one armies’ way to mitigate damage or have a super sweet cheap character, play something different, learn better strats and get better to defeat it. ”

      That’s the most spectacularly unhelpful non-answer I’ve seen on this topic yet. I’ll even take “just play the mission lmao” over it.

  11. Ohlmann October 15, 2019 1:44 pm #

    Darius : a very common error is thinking that if something was infuriating but somewhat fine ten time, it won’t cause trouble the eleventh time. Sometime, the cup is full.

    That does not mean that it’s the same as the previous one, like you are trying to imply. The biggest by far difference is that, here, GW seem to have purposefully made the Marines way too powerful, which is made all the more bitter by Psychic Awakening confirming that other armies are *supposed* to be second rate armies.

    In addition to being the apex of balance problem, it’s also the apex of the Primaris problem. While probably less players are fed up with the stupidity of the primaris marines than with balance problem, there is a decent amount of players that feel like the primaris is taking way too much of the spotlight and are uninteresting, so GW suddenly deciding they need to be broken and obsoleting everything else in every faction isn’t exactly helping their cases.

  12. Nick Wenker October 15, 2019 2:13 pm #

    If I could offer one constructive thing to help with the current situation, it would to make all to-hit rerolls in the game not affect overwatch. 5+ overwatch and flamers would still be good. Overwatching with 40 leviathan shots all rerolling to hit, or 100+ aggressor shots, is just overbearing for any type of melee lists. And UMs can loop in 3 more units of your choice and then fall back and still shoot.

  13. Greyknight12 October 15, 2019 4:18 pm #

    “I can [blame GW], it’s their job” – Sean

    Best line of the episode.

    • abusepuppy October 15, 2019 9:13 pm #

      Yeah. It literally is their job to get this stuff right- that’s what we pay them money for, and why they have a rules design team. If they fuck up, we have every right to be unhappy with them.

      • Travis Kirke October 16, 2019 1:26 am #

        100% agree.
        Honestly its appalling how bad GW at writing rules.
        40k has been operating with relatively minor tweaks on the core mechanics for about 20 years now. Some of the rules writers have been there for a decade.

        Yet it still seems like random chance how well each new book is balanced.

        Like was said in the episode – these aren’t hidden combos that emerge after months of play. These are found on day 0, absolutely blatantly powerful abilities, if you put A B C blocks together according to the instructions.

      • Chad October 16, 2019 5:05 am #

        That is the actual issue at hand. This can’t have been a mistake. If it was the rules writer that came up with things like the Ironstone should be relieved of his job.

        This reeks of a cash grab by a company that doesn’t care about game balance anymore.

    • Diceskill October 16, 2019 2:43 am #

      There either is a major issue with playtesting, or GW has stopped that entirely. That whole “new GW” thing seems to being going out the window fast. First Iron Hands, then GW brings the rerollable 2++ back.
      I am seriously worried GW forgot the lessons they seemingly had learned after 7th ed.

  14. Ishagu October 16, 2019 1:56 am #

    Abusepuppy had some frankly offensive suggestions in this podcast. Faction wide ban on supplements is insulting to the most dedicated hobbyists.

    Too much hyperbole from some. There is no question that a few Iron Hands rules need to be altered because the combinations can be too powerful, but the rest of the chapters are fine.

    I’m normally very supportive of the ideas and suggestions we hear in this podcast but there was too much negativity here, and it can lead to even further bad sentiments from the community.

    • Zweischneid October 16, 2019 10:29 pm #

      Honestly, why is that offensive?

      I don’t think a ban is necessarily needed in the case of Iron Hands and AbusePuppy said clearly it’s a last resort.

      But why is it offensive and/or only considered as a last resort?

      In most other games, especially those with a thriving tournament scene, say Magic the Gathering, it’s pretty basic and common: A card comes out that causes some problems with unanticipated combos? Boom, it’s removed from competitive/tournament play in about 5 seconds flat (while still being useably in your Monday night casual games).

      Not saying this is what should be done, but I am genuine curious why banning things is considered bad, offensive or even particularly “extreme” in 40K, where it’s “just another Tuesday” in most games that take competitive seriously.

    • abusepuppy October 16, 2019 10:43 pm #

      >but the rest of the chapters are fine

      I honestly don’t think they are. Obviously we haven’t seen the whole of what IF and Sallies can do, but reportedly they are just as powerful as the other books- and I think that IH, RG, and WS are all on par with each other in terms of power level, not that IH is a standout among them. Maybe you disagree with that, but that’s part of the discourse- calling the idea “offensive” just because it’s being raised is patently absurd. As I said on the podcast, I don’t think it’s necessarily the best solution, but it may be the only palatable one that works.

      • Ishagu October 17, 2019 1:40 am #

        It’s offensive because you are literally suggesting that models and thematic rules are banned.

        If supplements are sanctioned then so are the characters and units in them. Shrike is now banned? Calgar? This is not a sensible suggestion and flies against the spirit of the hobby.

        The Iron Hands do have some core rule problems on top of under-costed characters and overly powerful relics and stratagems. All of these can be adjusted individually.

  15. Nightman October 16, 2019 3:56 am #

    Skari was clearly wrong on one point. Pinapple on pizza is amazing.

    • Rob Knight October 16, 2019 4:38 am #

      Why would you do that? Just go on the internet and tell lies?

    • abusepuppy October 16, 2019 7:23 am #


  16. TheBigAristotle October 16, 2019 1:12 pm #

    This episode is a slog. I haven’t even put my hands on the Imperial Fists book and they’re discussing a ban on Supplements as if non-UM Marines players haven’t been utterly useless for nearly all of 8th edition.

    Thank the Emperor that I only play casual and usually go with the ‘one-of-everything’ strategy. The insane min-max BS from the competitive scene driving FAQs and balancing is so boring. I have zero sympathy for people who chase the meta and always need to be the latest and greatest.

    I built a fluffy army with units I like, and now because some WAAC psychos are upset, I gotta wonder if my army will be valid if I decide to play an ITC event, which looks less and less likely by the minute listening to this pod.

    • Ohlmann October 16, 2019 1:34 pm #

      I have seen way too many “fluffy” player that insisted that they had a full necron army / a lot of converted flying hive tyrants / half a dozen “converted” malefic lords / an entirely flying army / a castellan for “fluffy, fun” lists to be really sympathetic to your post.

      Even if you don’t try to disguise actual WAACiness, you *do* know that having no chance to win isn’t fun, regardless of being competitive or no, since as you said “marines have been utterly useless”. The actual answer to uselessness is not to render every other army useless, but balance everything.

      And if balance isn’t your concern, why being concerned when people suggest a ban, not on units, but on supplement rules ? By your account, you should not really care that your impulsor or three aren’t benefitting from the Iron Stone or the doctrine, no ?

    • abusepuppy October 16, 2019 10:44 pm #


      Wow, dude, for someone who goes to tournaments you sure do seem to hate tournaments. Maybe if you despise them and everything they stand for you ought to try not attending?

    • Trasvi October 17, 2019 7:42 am #

      I think iron hands is one of those codexes that will show just how necessary balance is for casual play, as much or even more than competitive.

      It’s the kind of army that you build it in a fluffy manner, doing the things that the rules and the pictures in the codex guides you to, and end up with a force that is orders of magnitude stronger than an army built in the same way from another codex.

      The powerful things in this book are SO powerful, so easy, and so obvious, that casual players are just going to luck in to them.

  17. Mac October 16, 2019 3:39 pm #

    I am one of those wanting to return to the hobby, I haven’t been even able to get to an LGS in quite some time but have been very impressed with what GW has been able to do with 8th by taking an active role.

    This latest release has me concerned that GW is back to it’s good ol’ couldn’t balance a table with no legs days.

  18. ANtoine October 18, 2019 12:09 pm #

    Well, how can you still play a game where you throw 200 dices and that isn’t good at all ? I’ve stopped a few month ago and i feel refreshed :). The amount of love GW gets for copy/pasting things for over years, if they weren’t the sole leader, they would be dead since so long…

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