Differences of Opinion

I’d like to take a digression to address some of the comments raised in the Signing News post, regarding decisions that were made on Codex: Chaos Space Marines. For those Hamsterites not familiar with the way the main Games Workshop games are structured, they consist of a core rulebook that contains the rules for the game and a series of supplements that detail each of the individual armies that people can collect and game with (called Army Books for Warhammer, and Codexes for Warhammer 40,000).

To start with, let’s make one thing clear. Reasoned criticism of a work is one thing, attacks on the creator of that work are another. I’m fine with the first, I am not fine with the second, in any arena. The internet does not entitle somebody to conduct themselves without the usual consideration and manners I hope they would employ in other forms of communication. It is also too easy for some folks to forget that quite often they are expressing their opinion, not objective fact. It is entirely possible that other people have a different opinion, and it is usually of little use arguing opinions rather than explaining how those opinions were formed. I firmly believe that an informed opinion is far better than an uninformed one, even if that opinion differs from mine. I have had many players contact me or talk to me expressing their approval of the revised Codex: Chaos Space Marines and their preference for the approach that was taken. For example: http://sonsoftaurus.blogspot.com/2010/05/why-play-chaos-space-marine-army.html

To that end, here’s some of the thinking behind the changes that were made. They were not done on a whim and the decisions were taken with some thought and consideration.

An army (and a Codex) are more than just a set of rules. In the scheme of things, rules come and go; they are an abstract mechanical representation of something else. The exact rules representation may change from edition to edition, but hopefully they fundamentally represent the same thing. The previous edition of the Codex was over-the-top on rules, trying to legislate for every eventuality on the tabletop and trying to represent in detail every aspect of a player’s miniature army.

This approach has two main problems. Firstly, it creates a mindset of false legitimacy. This isn’t just in gaming, it’s in wider society as well. Some people feel entitled to place all responsiblity on the rules-makers (or lawmakers…) with the argument, ‘Well, the rules say I can do it.’ This fundamentally diverts the choices a person makes onto somebody else, absolving them of blame (in their mind). By moving away from a set of rules that tries to legislate for every single possibility, and instead return to the original idea that these books are as much a guide to players as they are rulebooks, we sought to bring back both the responsiblity and the power for players to make the decisions for themselves. They are a framework for players to collect an army of miniature soldiers not a dictat on the way they must do so.

The second problem with this approach is at the opposite end of the scale. By having a minutiae of rules covering very detailed elements of a players army, it can also trigger the response, ‘I can’t do this because the rules don’t say I can’. By listing very specific allowances and restrictions, the old Codex essentially presented very narrow interpretations of the background, again removing the choice from the players. This is particularly the case with the Legions  and Power-specific lists. While they did introduce some cool new options (which I’ll get back to later) the majority of those sub-lists were about restriction, not choice. It presented a very defined view of what was and was not possible in the vast galaxy of the 41st millenium. Some troop types never, ever appeared on the battlefield together according to the previous iteration of the rules. Some Legions never, ever used certain types of wargear. These restrictions removed lots of ‘What if…?’ situations, cementing a very rigid and literal interpretation of the background within the mechanics of collecting an army. They were unrepresentative of the anarchic and fluctuating nature of Chaos forces.

It is also important to consider the Codex in the context in which it was created – a broad platform for a typical Chaos Space Marines army. In both Warhammer and 40K, Chaos has always had an immensely diverse background, with many, many different troop types, war engines, characters and so forth. The decision was taken, as it was in Warhammer, that such diversity couldn’t be given a proper treatment in just a single volume. Rather than dismiss some of the most entertaining parts of the background (and potential miniatures) as footnotes, it was decided that they should be given books of their own, to delve into their histories and personalities and armies with separate volumes (and, of course, cool new miniatures). I don’t work in the Studio anymore, so I can’t say whether that is still the strategy, or how plans for this are continuing. I can say that a the time we were working on Codex: CSM there was a lot of enthusiasm for the possibilities this approach allowed – new god-specific troop types and war engines, in-depth background of the various Legions and what they’ve been up to, renegade Chapters and warbands that had dedicated themselves to one god. Bear in mind that a lot of the variant armies people associate with the old Codex were not in fact from the Codex, but from the Index Astartes articles, which themselves made up two extra volumes (if one dismisses all of that Loyalist stuff!). As a lot of those tweaks and variants weren’t in Codex: CSM, the possibility of extra Codexes addresses that issue in a way that would be far more satisfying than a few pages in a White Dwarf. I hope that it is still the intent of GW to go down this route at some stage, I think there’s immense scope for some exciting and unique armies out there.

Which kind of brings us to Daemons. There’s a simple argument for why Daemons were given their own Codex. In the huge sweep of galactic history, there are countless occasions when Space Marines and Imperial Guard have fought on the same battlefield. However, why isn’t GW inundated with complaints that you can’t take Imperial Guard in a Space Marines army? The same is true of cultists and the Lost and the Damned list – there are all sorts of other Imperial troops like the Arbites, Sisters of Battle, Planetary Defence forces, Assassins, navy crews, Adeptus Mechanicus and many others. Yet I never received a complaint that these could not be used in a Space Marines army… The book was briefed as Codex: Chaos Space Marines, and therefore deals with Chaos Space Marines. The outlook on this seems to come from a purely traditional approach – that there was a Daemons list and a cultists list in the 2nd edition 40K Codex: Chaos. Even then, they were separate lists! They were only folded into the Chaos Space Marines in the previous version of the Codex.

I’m a very flexible gamer, I have no problem with people trying out stuff for the hell of it. If you want to take a force of Chaos Space Marines and have a few Daemons joining the fun, I’d be happy to play you. By the same token, I’d happily play against your Space Marines and Sisters of Battle allies, or your ‘Traitor Guard’ army with a few squads of Black Legion.  Got a Basilisk in Iron Warriors’ colours? Bring it on! This goes back to my second point – using your imagination and doing what you want with your toy soldiers is your choice, not the games developer’s. I’d like to see more in WD and on the GW website reminding players that they are perfectly entitled to do this sort of thing.

Somebody is bound to bring up the subject of tournaments at this stage. Tournaments are an artificial environment, laying down restrictions and criteria to provide a competitive environment. I’ll reiterate my point that with both GW-organised and independent tournaments, by far the most army list mistakes (often costing the payer concerned valuable tournament points) occurred with the old Codex far more than any other book around at the same time – including Witch Hunters, Craftworld Eldar  and other complex multi-volume armies.

Random selection of cool Chaos stuff I’ve just found with a Google image search:





(Oh dear! He’s got that awesome axe, but there aren’t any rules for it… What are we to do?)


Word Bearers – with Cultists! I think the cultists-as-summoned daemons is one of the best ‘Counts As’ intepretations around.

If Daemons didn’t have their own Codex, you wouldn’t be able to have battles likes this one:


If I have a regret about Codex: Chaos Space Marines, it would be not having the space and resources to showcase more of this kind of stuff – in the book and White Dwarf. The creativity of players doesn’t need justification by rules – it’s  treating (and showing!) 40K as the broad hobby it is, not just a game with a set of rules.

I’ll finish by saying that I’m not writing this with the illusion that the current Codex: Chaos Space Marines is perfect. It does the job it was intended to do, in the context of the brief that was given at the time and the ongoing strategy that was being considered. I’m not writing this to say that some people are wrong in their opinion, it’s just a matter of two very different approaches to addressing the same issue – the sheer Chaosness of Chaos armies! The former Codex was a very rules-driven attempt to encapsulate the wildness of Chaos, the current Codex is about a very simple foundation that allows players to make hobby-based, aesthetic decisions regarding their army without worrying about the gaming implications.

Some people prefer the first approach, some the second. That’s the way the world is, and long may it continue that way.

Published in: on September 10, 2009 at 11:05 am  Comments (324)  

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  1. Fantastic article, its great to read topics like this from developers.

    I share many veiws with you Gav about the new Codex and Chaos, my only real critism was the Daemon prince, bit bland for my tastes, was hoping for a Carnifex style nightmare as to me it was one unit choice that really did deserve a page full of options.


    • With hindsight, I agree; we could have been a little less puritan with Daemon Princes – and characters in general – with regard to the range of powers and wargear. As the ‘player-on-the-tabletop’ these sorts of imposing personalities should have plenty of scope for customisation and individuality.


      • Daemon Princes of Khorne have less options than Imperial Guard commanders. I think that really sums up the new CSM codex.


    • I must admit that it is helpful to get explanations from the creater of the codex. My friends havent really got past the, YOU MUST FOLLOW THE RULES, part of the hobbt, which forced me to sell my Basilisk and Leman Russ’s, painted in Iron Warriors colours!! A shame i hadnt read this article before hadn…


  2. I’ll keep my commentary simple:

    Playtest your Codex: Playtesting means you try to BREAK your design — you find ways the rules can be misused or misunderstood. The Design Studio suffers from a blatant, sometimes crippling case of groupthink. Get some outside playtesters. Vicious nasty ones, munchkins and minmaxers of the worst sort. Sign them up with the most draconian confidentiality agreements you can. They will let you know what’s wrong with the codex from how they abuse the rules.

    Get an Editor: They exist for a reason. Repeat after me: a spellchecker is not an editor. Say that a thousand times — it will be your punishment for Codex: Blood Angels.


    • Reread the section on “let’s get one thing clear”. It’s the second paragraph of the article. Then try again: you have concerns with the Blood Angels Codex? Fine. Discuss them.

      Then reread the article. The whole dilemma is that the codex has many purposes: to allow players to legally select a wide variety of armies, as well as to restrict them to armies which play fair. To give people freedom of choice for friendly games and scenarios can mean allowing abusable combinations for tournament play.

      Perhaps they didn’t get the balance right on this one? Perhaps GW should add and annotate restrictions within an army list, for tournament purposes? What solutions do you propose?


      • Even more simple commentary:

        Outside playtesters are needed.

        Use an real, live editor.

        Both of the above MUST not be part of the Design Studio.

        The majority of the mistakes in design will be caught by these two things.


    • As someone whose name is also in the Codex (at the back), I will only say this:

      1) It was Playtested.
      2) Feedback was given.
      3) Feedback was acted upon at the discretion of the Studio.

      Make of that comment what you will.


      • mindwar_ftw@hotmail.com is my email address. I would be VERY interested in a discussion with you, if you are interested.

        Among other questions, you are not attributed in any of the other 7 Codices I had at hand? And also, Tim Sawyer (Ork Codex) is Tim Sawyer (Imperial Guard) right? I met a playtester once…I have a good deal of respect for the position, but have even more questions I didn’t get time to ask. Admittedly, I was quite overawed at the chance to, and spent more time listening.

        The ball is in your court, sir. 🙂


    • I agree with most of this post. While it comes off a little brackish, the point is legitimate. Mr. Thorpe is aware that the tournaments will dictate 90% of the army lists ran. Outside play-testing would help reduce much of the imbalance and unoriginality occurring, and it would up the hype for whatever army that’s being tested. Should GW tournaments be universal on points and grade army composition (say 1750 world-wide, leave your double-lash list at home) you might see some originality and solid generals winning tournaments and not just people copy-pasting the same 1 or 2 lists within an army.

      GW, going to the email-in-your-questions has not replied to emails sent 10 months ago…

      I do not mind widening choices for armies but for GW to slaughter old flavor (ya’know Orks used to be fun, and not this ridiculously competitive army and I feel for Iron Warrior players). It also becomes disheartening when an army specializes in something and another codex for a different army can do it just as well for cheaper. Compare Dark Angels to Codex:Everyone’s Ultra and soon Space Wolves. To play Dark Angels is to knowingly gimp yourself. Play Dark Eldar, with not one unit capable of outflanking, being out-maneuvered by IG. Eladr Bladestorm copied to IG, and IG’s ‘penalty’ is less than Dire Avengers. Have Marines be less-accurate at firing on Monstrous Creatures and tanks than Guard. Play Daemons and not be able to get the model range within the codex because after 2 years GW still hasn’t bothered to finish the range (daemonettes on steed, any of the chariot just to name a couple)These are the things that make many players feel GW is all about money and do not care about their game.


      • I agree some, here. I’ve got both Sisters and Grey Knights. Combined with Dark Eldar and Necrons, it makes me wonder if GW even really cares that people play them. My codex is behind by TWO editions!

        I KNOW that Marines sell the most, and these armies do not. And I KNOW that money IS a concern, and as a company you need to support what people are buying to keep in business. And last, I admit that most of the other armies are likely only possible because the Marines are doing all the work bringing in new players.

        But on that note, how can you possibly expect that new players will pick up those codexes, when they see that not only is the codex 5+ years old, but the model range in entirely in metals? Or when told, by the guys behind the counter, that there will be no new codex soon, so you would be better off taking one of the newer, stronger codex books? Or they face a 1000 point army that has three special characters in it, and they can’t do a thing in response because their special characters are locked into 1500 point games?


  3. Gav,

    Very awesome article on the difference of approach from the GW Studio between the two versions of 40K. This is a must read for anyone who games…

    Thanks for writing!


    • Gav,

      I have to say, the point you make of wanting to make a Codex that lets the player make a Chaos army free of restrictions from sublists was the purpose of the codex. That is a fact. However, by removing and changing certain options that the sublists and the main Codex had, you restricted me from taking quite a few things.
      This is an excerpt from the E-mail I sent GW Customer Service when the Codex came out, where I list the models I own I can’t use in a tournament game or against anybody who wants me to use the Codex with no fan made modifications because of the changes in wargear and weapons options.
      “I personally cannot legally use over $300 of my Chaos models in the new version of the army list. This isn’t including the cost of tools, paint, or the countless bits I’ve bought to convert most of these models. And as I go through my collection to work on projects and organize things, I regularly find something else I can’t use now. Here’s several examples.
      A.. $112.50 worth of Juggernauts that I used to mount a Khorne Lord and his Chosen Retinue. No Retinue in the list and no mounts for Chosen makes this unit no longer legal.
      B. $17.00 for my Iron Warriors and Thousand Sons Lords who have weapon combinations that the new Lord/Sorcerer entry don’t cover. The IW has a specially converted servo arm harness (which has no rules) and daemon weapon, the TS has a lightning claw (which I would use as a force weapon…) and combi-weapon (which, however, sorcerers can’t have). My two favorite characters are now useless.
      C. $20.00 for Night Lords Lord on Bike with Melta Gun faring that is no longer available as an option for a bike.
      D. $40.00 box of Chaos Hounds that I split up to make pets for various characters, that they can’t have now.
      E. $60.00 in Chaos Bikers with Bike faring mounted plasm guns and melta guns that aren’t an option anymore.
      F. $45.00 Chaos Dreadnought with Havoc launcer. Even though the Dreadnought was the first model to ever be able to mount that option, it no longer can.
      G. $20.00 worth of Thousand Sons converted to be used as a retinue for the now useless lord above. Half are sorcerer champs, so they are not useable as Chosen anymore.
      H. $33.75 worth of Thousand Sons mounted on Disks as Retinue for a Lord mounted on a Disk.
      I. $30.00 Rhino mounting both a pintle mount combi-bolter and havoc rack, making it an illegal combination of upgrades (despite the fact that the Iron Warriors Land Raider in the codex’s painted section has this combo).
      J. $40.00 Iron Warriors Basilisk with Forgeworld Upgrade kit and converted Necromunda Pit Slave Crew.
      K. $20.00 worth of Servo arm wielding Aspiring Champions that now have no rules.
      L. A box of Grey Knights in Power Armor that I converted to be a retinue for the above IW Lord. Since the Chosen can’t have a combi weapon and a power weapon at the same time, not even the champion, they can’t be fielded as a unit.
      M. Two Noise Marine/Emperor’s Children Lords equipped with Doom Sirens they can’t have anymore.”

      So while you set out to make an army list that did not restrict us from collecting what we wanted to, you did stop me from using a sizable part of my collection. That’s not opinion, that’s fact.
      So what did the Chaos Codex accomplish? It made me quit going to tournaments, something I and my friends (all CSM players) loved. It made me build my first Imperial army in the 20 years I’ve been in the hobby (an Ultramarine army, replete with piles of interesting options). It made me choose not to buy the Codex. I wrote an army list for my Iron Warriors units using a copy a friend loaned me. Since I know the stats of all the models and weapons and don’t have any interesting or complex options that I need to refer to every game, I don’t actually need the book to play a game with them. They are the only CSMs I play with now.
      I do agree with the point you made about we the players having the right to ignore the restrictions of the books and make up our own rules. You can point to the release of the Dark Angels and CSM Codices for the moment my friends and I made that decision. I just wish that more players would reach that conclusion and that GW would do a better job of showcasing that part of the hobby. Too many of my good friends who I’ve played great games with have quit the hobby because the latest Codex made their carefully converted, well painted, and interesting army unplayable. The Chaos Codex almost made me do that, but I decided I enjoy the hobby too much to let one ill-executed rulebook end something that’s been so much fun for me over the years.



      • Counts As! Everything on your list could be used as something else with a little imagination. Got a gun on a model you can’t use, find the closest viable alternative and use that. Juggernaught unit? Counts as allied bloodcrushers? Counts as summoned greater daemon? Counts as chaos Terminators? Counts as something out of an Imperial Armour book. There are always options.

        My deamon princes are orion with wings, a dragon ogre painted red and the Be’Lakor model.

        As long as people aren’t fooled into thinking something represents something it does not, and you are upfront I’m sure even most tournaments would allow it, and any friendly gamer worth their salt would.

        Even if you can’t justify something to yourself, you are obviously a good modeler, so make a slight conversion.


      • That’s not at all exaggerated is it?

        Everything in that list can be used to represent something. Not that using all of that is legal in a single list, so you must have $4000 of useful troops to complement these extreme cases.


      • @T I understand what you mean, perhaps I went a bit OTT, but my point still stands. Let me give you some examples.

        First the heretic list form the first ‘Siege of Vraks’ book. At its core it is the old IG codex, but the writers obvu=iusoly sat down and decided what every different option could count as. There was no room for conscripts in their army, but they needed a place for a workers rabble. A quick swap of names and fluff and you have adapted the army yo use their converted models and background with no effect on the balance of the army. They did the same with heretics and imperial guardsmen. They didn’t bemoan the lack of the old lost and dammed list to base theirs on, they adapted the IG list.

        Games workshop practically encourage it now. Don’t want to use Sicarus but like the rules, think up a new name, make a new model, as long as the rules are understandable then go for it. Look at this conversion for Iron Hand Stracken.


        Stracken doesn’t have a thunder hammer, there are no rules for giving him one, but in this case it represents his high strength and armour piercing ability. Look at his command squad.


        They have shields because they look so damn cool. There are no rules for shields, so they count as the peel no pain rule the medic would give them.

        I’d like to give some other examples form my home forum of Librarium online. First is the work of a member called Protius. He has created a renegade adpetus mechanicus army.


        Every single model is his own conversion. He decided that it was best represented by a daemon list. There are no $4000 of other troops to bulk it out, they are all his creations. Most people who play it say they love it and have no problems with it. It fits with the background, the rules are still fair, he is upfront as to what things represent and most reasonable gamers have no bones with it. As to tournaments, he entered the Summer of War at Warhammer World and came second. Look at his last post, no one had an issue with the counts as aspect and he won a prize.

        Add to this:

        Boomer has a race of purple aliens that count as orks

        Protius has an army of rebel grots based on the IG book (storm troopers are grots with riot shields)

        Inquisitor Earl has a cult mechanicus army

        Thats just a few moments searching on one forum for whole counts as armies. GW codex’s leave lots of room, either for simple name and model changes, up to whole unexplored corners of the fiction. The very novels people like Gav write inspire people to make models that have no rules, and the adaptability of the codex’s allow them to make room for them. If these people had waited around for an official document to tell them they could be creative these great projects would never have happened. Mind you if someone can’t think of a use for an Iron Warrior with a servo arm then I worry for them. They can always pop onto a forum, i”m sure the community could think of lots of suggestions for them.

        (BTW I’m writing this not as pure polemic, but in the hope that it helps, and these great Iron Warriors miniatures get back out of the cupboard and onto the field!)


  4. Gav, as you’ve been a long term studio insider I can appreciate your opinion, and I understand your frustration at having to explain the intricacies of how and why certain decisions are made in preparing a new codex. However, one aspect I think you may have avoided to consider is the business side of these decisions.

    Obviously more choice to creatively make a new army, or remake an aging one, is commendable and an important part of the hobby, but most long term players can see the forest for the trees with respect to how retooling a codex impacts GW revenues. Separating Daemons from Chaos Space Marines creates a new revenue stream. And while making CSMs all inclusive removes the unit restrictions that chaos power specific background has established since the late 80’s, we also realize that doing so opens up more opportunities to collect (see purchase) a broader variety of models.

    So my question for you then is this, what degree of consideration is given to codex specific / rules specific decisions in respect to the impact they will have on GW revenue? Have certain well established backgrounds and creative impulses in particular armies been compromised in favor of producing a new codex that will drive sales?

    I ask this because it appears this has been GW’s marketing model for at least the last two years. While I love Apocalypse and Planetstrike, and I think they really open up the game in new directions, (actually older, original directions if you’ve played since the Rogue Trader days) I also realize the marketing intent was to remove the economic straightjacket of the traditional 40K Force Organization standards in order to prompt new sales of existing models. From this example it appears that this marketing model was also present in the “creative” decision making process for codexes beginning with the latest CSM codex (also published about 2 years ago).

    That may come off wrong, but I’m not criticizing this type of marketing. I realize that GW is a “company that produces miniatures” first and rules for their use in games. However, I do think it’s a bit disingenuous to exclude GW’s marketing influence on decisions for rules / codex changes, or in some cases compromising (stifling?) the creative process. Does the marketing follow the creative, or does the creative follow the marketing? The latter is the definition of marketeering.


  5. Very interesting article, the thing i always miss when i look at new codexes and rules etc. is the reasons behind the changes. I disagree with alot of the changes and such is the way of personal preference but actually being told why things were done makes all the difference to me. I would imagine it is the same with alot of people.
    The thing i missed the most was the veteran skills on the basic Chaos Marines, those to me helped bring to life the idea that you were fighting against soldies who fought side by side with the Emperor.
    Please do write more articles like this one, very good read!


  6. Hi,

    As expected, this post has generated a lot of interest! I’m trying to keep focussed on writing The Crown of the Blood at the moment, and want to give proper consideration to the comments coming in, so it’ll be a few days before I get around to approving them and giving replies.

    I’m not ignoring anyone, I promise!


    • Gav, I’ve stayed subscribed to this thread as much as by laziness as anything else – (I like your blog, and loved Raven’s Flight, though I found it a little slow at the start. Frankly, I also think the voice acting didn’t do the work justice, but hardly your fault. That sentence went astray – I meant to say, I like the blog, but don’t read it regularly, though I like your (fluff) material I am familar with*)
      – and I have been amazed how the negative comments continue to trickle in. I don’t LIKE the Dex either, but I *get* what you were saying, and accept the reasons for it being what it is.

      Anyway, the reason I returned to comment wasn’t actually to express a modicum of support (not least as I think it not necessary,) but to suggest the excellent satire ‘The End of the NMM Affair’ on Sons of Taurus’ blog be read. I loved it as much as any article I can think of on the Blogosphere – even my own! :p

      * – Also, the Dark Elf book, which is a large contributing factor in my decision to indulge in 8e Fantasy, stepping for the first time into the Fantasy World proper and buying an army. Good job.

      Oh, and if you see Matt Ward, from what I’ve read he has excelled himself with the new Rulebook. Please extend my gratitude for his excellent work as well.


  7. Thanks for insight into the codex Gav! I’ve been playing Chaos since the 3rd edition Codex and although I was a bit sad by the lack of options in the new codex it became clear that it made things much easier to focus on building an army and playing the game rather than fine-tuning that perfect list.


  8. I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments Gav. I find the CSM Codex to be very flexible and it’s kept my interest peaked since it was released. I’ve tried a fair few combinations out but there’s always something different to try. The fact that I can’t pin down the best list is testament to the variable nature of Chaos and the fact that you must have done something right!

    If I were to add someting to the Codex now it would be the option to choose special characters as upgrades for units in the same way the more recent books do.


  9. Why is the first link for “Cool Chaos Armies” a link to a poorly-made page of female Space Marines?


    • Sorry, just having a bit of fun!


  10. Unfortunately, the vast, vast majority of Games Workshop players aren’t the flexible player you are Gav. This is why we need rules. If only we were all so lucky to either have a set core group of regular opponents to let us do what we want outside of the rules.

    People don’t complain about not having IG in the space marines codex because they weren’t replaced in the codex by “generic lasgun guy” and “generic tank” – they never were in the codex in the first place. It’s a totally different thing, don’t pretend it isn’t. Of course, I like the Daemons codex.

    Saying “The majority of the sub-lists were about restriction, not choice” is technically true, but it’s creating a false premise. Having fewer sub-lists is about restriction as well. Since most people actually use the rules, you’ve just changed from one restriction to another. Unfortunately, the new restriction completely eliminates all of their legion armies, to the point where even an approximation can’t be fielded without making up your own rules or just using the old codex.

    None of this also addresses the opinion that the new CSM codex doesn’t really do a very good job of balancing the rules, or encouraging players to take most of the choices (Spawn being the best example). Which isn’t really opinion – it is pretty easy to demonstrate that a player will never win with certain units. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tournament, balance matters. At least a little.

    The other prominent complaint is that the codex doesn’t really reflect CSM well at all, based on the history of the Codex and Chaos at GW….but that, of course, is opinion.


    • Speaking as a veteran of many (many) years, former member of some half a dozen clubs during my travels around the country and founder of my current club in York (http://yorkgarrison.co.uk) I have to say that “the vast, vast majority of Games Workshop players” are exactly as Gav describes them. Admittedly, the vast, vast majority of whingeing Internet denizens aren’t, but they really aren’t representative of the for-fun players that make up 90% of the wargaming population. The CSM codex is one of the most popular in our club, with some of the best (and most competitive) players. Yes, it lacked the almost infinite flexibility of the old codex, but its streamlined approach still leaves plenty of room for imagination.

      I get very fed up with people complaining about stuff they “can’t do”. As long as you’re not playing at a tournament (and most games aren’t), there’s nothing you “can’t do”.


      • I think you’re missing the point. It directly eliminates a large portion of the previous codex. It creates bad rules, creating some overpowered abilities and some ridiculously overcosted units. It completely gutted many common armies, to the point where they belonged on ebay not on the battlefield, since 80% of the units either didn’t exist in the codex anymore or were unplayably bad, or worse…completely uninteresting!

        Wish I could agree about 90% of gamers. My experience is the exact opposite. As a veteran of many (many) ((many)) years I’ve never met a stranger in a store who would let me use my own rules, nor have I ever seen a game played in a store using home brewed rules. Maybe it’s a difference between the US and the UK. The majority of my friends would indulge me if I pressed the issue, but would prefer to just use the rules as is. 90% of GW players are like this. They may like a nice model or an interesting fluff for your army, and they’ll be willing to tolerate a few counts as, but they don’t really want to play some weird fake rules you came up with to make your old army legal again, or allow you to just cherry pick stuff from various codexes to fill out your army. That’s just the way it is – they sell us the rules, and we play by them. This has nothing to do with tournaments or anything else – it’s the whole point of a company publishing rules…so we can follow them.

        I could get the members of my small gaming group to play by home-brew rules if I whinged enough (as you put it) but probably only on the occasional one-off game, but they would look at me funny and wonder what the point was. And heaven forbid any of us try to restrict someone from using something that is allowed by their codex of choice (such as say Lash of Submission in 40k, or any of the various overpowered special characters in the Fantasy Daemons codex). It’ll never happen in a million years – your only recourse is to just refuse to play them. And man, that sure makes you look good, to refuse to play someone because their power or army is broken or just not actually fun to play against. Unfortunately I guess I know people who actually play the game to win as part of having fun, which seems to be a huge mistake when it comes to enjoying 40k.


  11. Oh, one other thing…while you can’t look at the new codex in a vacuum, it isn’t fair to just compare things to the old codex. All of the complaints that you have about the old codex are legitimate. It was a big mess, in my opinion. But that doesn’t make the changes that were made very good.


  12. As a Chaos player for more than 15 years (only my SW army is older than that), I have to admit that the current codex is as balanced as it gets with 40k codices and it is still highly competitive in a tournament environment. But I believe that a few more additions or modifications (the afore mentioned DPs tweaking for example) would have been enough for the majority of the players that now critisize it. In my opinion cult terminators should have been a must in order to have the “Legions” fans (who are the vast majority) content and offer the possibility of fielding “hardcore” cult armies…Another point worth considering is that the codex was focused on Renegades. Poor choice for me. Firstly because in my experience most Chaos players adore the Legions(and if they want sth different they just choose a split part of it)and secondly because all of us chaos veterans are so addicted to fluff that we dont want to see a “modern” renegade Ultramarine holding an autoreaper cannon or even a Red Corsair for that matter…Everybody I think agrees that these should bear current Imperial technology weapons according to fluff and logic, though we can devise ways to say that they captured the wargear from an older warband they ambushed etc. Someone would say that Chaos should have different weapons in order to differentiate from the imperial codices playerswise. Exactly. Thats my point…Legions are a lot different than Imperial Marines or Renegades and the codex in my humble opinion should have been based upon them with the addition of some fluff regarding the Renegades… Another disappointment for me was the absence of Cypher but I hoped at that point that was due to his future inclusion in Codex DA (by the way I am a strong Astelan and loyal Fallen fan fighting for him all over the internet). I got disappointed again. I hope I am not becoming tiring as English is not my first language. Gavin keep up the good work with the excellent novels…(I became really upset when I heard that you would not write about pre-heresy Dark Angels and unfortunately the HH DA novels confirmed my fears as they took a different direction than the Terran/Caliban schism you suggested in Angels of Darkness and your short story. I hope this is just another trick of the traitorous Lion 🙂 But this is a diferrent topic…


    • I unfortunately have to agree with Sotiris. I was just getting ready to start collecting a CSM army when the new codex came out. From all the fluff, I had decided I was going to field a Alpha Legion army. BAM!!! No more cultists, no way to infiltrate mass troops, no flavor to the Legions. I immediately sold what I had painted/purchased at below retail, and bought Warmachine minis.

      The point of this? the fans of CSM enjoy their Legions, and will defend them religiously. that book almost had no mention of the history behind them, model wise. You can take Nurgle and Tzeentch troops together, not to mention Berzerkers and Noise Marines. The only legion who did that in the past? Black Legion. that’s what that codex was. A Black Legion codex. It doesn’t make sense for a loyalist chapter to go rogue, then suddenly forget how to use Storm Bolters or Assault Cannons.


      • If it helps i think the first siege of Varaks book include a pretty decent alpha legion/renegade/cultist list? The latest ones have some interesting chaos lists too


      • So you sold all your models that you hadn’t actually bought yet? That must have been upsetting for you.

        Why would you make such critical life-determining plans using a book you knew was about to be replaced?

        I’m pretty sure traitor marines would know how to fire storm bolters and Assault cannons if they had them. The problem is, they weren’t heavily circulated until after those legions turned to chaos and traitor legions don’t exactly have Imperial supplies to keep their weaponry and ammunition up to scratch.

        You lament lost fluff, but it seems you never actually read it in the first place.


  13. I though this was a very good article, but in the vein of constructive criticism I want to offer some on why I think Codex CSM causes so much disagreement.

    You touched on it from the design point of view. Codex CSM is a portion of what had been Chaos previously. As such things that had previously been discussed are not on the assumption that they will be expanded upon later.

    My criticism is that Games Workshop is notorious for changing its mind on what happens “later” and in many respects already has too big of a universe for them to keep up with. Thus, taking something away with the assumption of it being given back later in this context is basically just taking it away.

    Overall, I guess I take the “problems” with Codex CSM to be an example of a much larger issue. Codexes cannot keep up with editions of the game (and with each other) because the rules are not coherently updated and it simply takes too much time to revamp everything. The best example, are there ANY Imperial Guard formations in the main Apocalypse rulebook that refer to units actually in the current Guard codex?

    As much as players can sort it out for themselves in these cases, I don’t want to have to write 3/4 of the rules for the army I play when I’m playing an army that’s “official.” If I’m doing that, why don’t I just write ALL the rules myself or simply use my miniatures in another company’s game system.


    • Yes, I am two weeks late, but I can not stop myself. BRAVO! Kirk BRAVO!


  14. Let’s put aside your theory of codex-making for a moment and look at something specific that your elimination of excessive rules did.

    In the old codex Possessed Space Marines were kind of bad. They had five different mutations, all of which were overpriced. If anything needed to be streamlined in the codex, it was probably them.

    And then you went and made them worthless. They roll on a chart for an upgrade at the beginning of the game. One of the upgrades (Rending) makes them good. The others are complete junk because you decided that Possessed models didn’t need any sort of power weapon. You took something that was overly-complicated and made it worthless.

    How do you look at that and think ‘yeah we did a great job’?

    The Chaos Dreadnought had a stupid rule that made it occasionally shoot its own guys twice if no enemy was in range. You kept that rule and made it even worse then it was before. Why?

    The way that other Codexes have streamlined army-wide customizations recently is through special characters giving army-wide rules (Masters of the Ravenwing and Deathwing and more recently the Space Marines Captains/Chapter Masters). You didn’t follow that example. Instead you made the cast of special characters just a bunch of overpriced Chaos Lords, with the exception of Abaddon who is simply an extremely over-the-top Chaos Lord.

    Then there’s Lash, Chaos’ bludgeon. I’m sure every player who sees his thirty man Ork squad form into a nice circle in front of a pair of Defilers or whose Crisis Suits just stepped up to a Raptor squad’s charge range on the first turn would just love to thank you for including Lash in the game. You really did improve their 40k experience, let me tell you.

    This is the problem people have with Chaos Codex. It’s not with your theory or approach. It’s with what you actually put in it. There are entire entries in the codex that are just complete and utter rubbish. There’s a spell that completely obliterates any semblance of fairness in certain match-ups.

    Don’t try to make this about differences in attitudes or gaming values. This is about the shoddy content of the actual book.


    • But wait! You can use a Psychic Hood to negate it!


      Put your units in vehicles!

      Lash is an abomination of a rule, and completely indefensible.

      You’re correct. Theory and approach are irrelevant. Gamers care about the content. If the content is poor, we’re going to say so – and it most certainly was.


    • Somebody obviously hasn’t read the chaos codex very well.
      You state that Possessed do not have the option to take power weapons.

      And I really don’t see why you are complaining about lash; in the previous codex, you could take 9 Obliterators, 4 Basilisks, and kill much more than a squad of ork boyz every turn with that firepower. Not to mention the added firepower of the Min/maxed squads.


  15. Hey Gav. Your reasoning would be all well and good if it applied to all the Codexes. But here we are again with the new Orks, Marines, IG and now Space Wolves all laden with countless options and exciting new units, while Chaos Marines (and Dark Angels) can feel sorry for themselves for the next 4-6 years.

    I was actually one of the most vocal supporters of the streamlining back then, because I understood the reasoning behind it and expected the same to happen to all the armies. Now I just feel cheated and stupid for falling for it.


  16. I could complain about what I liked about the old codex, or complain that the new codex is bad, but I’d rather not.

    Though I miss my god-specific Daemons, I think that the new codex is fine. I would have liked certain units (Possessed, in particular) to be a little cheaper, but that’s just me.


  17. A bit of a response to Greenman, and naturally it’s just my opinion, but I think that the codex has considerable tactical depth.

    Take two popularly disparaged units: Possessed, and Chaos Dreadnoughts.

    Possessed make great bodyguard units for independent characters, especially Sorcerers and Kharn, daemon-bomb anchors, and disposable assault troops. You know they’re going to get 1/6 of the Daemonkin results, and you know how they’ll behave when they do: play accordingly. Send them straight down the middle. If they Scout, then that’s 12″ closer to the enemy that they get to start. Otherwise, they’ll only get meaner in combat.

    Chaos Dreadnoughts are actually quite good if you bother to read the 5th edition Walker rules: Walkers have a line of sight of 45 degrees from each weapon. The Fire Frenzy result of Crazed! specifies that you pivot the Dreadnought to the closest visible enemy. Thanks to Dreadnought’s ability to pivot in the shooting phase as well as the movement phase, this means that any turn you start with your own troops as the closest visible unit is a turn you have failed as a player.

    The Lash of Submission is a tremendously over-rated power. It’s a psychic shooting power since it’s used instead of another ranged weapon, so it cannot be used in close combat. It’s short ranged, doesn’t affect vehicles, and requires a line of sight. It’s easily defeated by mechanization, something you should be doing in 5th edition anyways, or engaging the user in close combat, or simply shooting the carrying unit to death.

    Regarding characters, the leaders you take in an army very much affect composition. Fabius Bile, for example, can enhance Chaos Space Marine units with his Enhanced Warriors rule, so the combination of him and Cult troops is obviously not hugely advantageous, but not right out – you can make it work if you want to. Kharn works really well in combination with a bodyguard of Possessed, Huron is a swiss-army Chaos Lord, Ahriman multiples the force of a Thousand Sun-based army, and so on. Of course, this affects composition but doesn’t force you into a strategic straitjacket, which can only be good in terms of variety and replay value.

    I think the Codex is well-designed. The problem is that it is well-designed for creative problem-solvers, who are willing to figure out what works, and to put some effort into an army, instead of button-mashers. Essentially it hasn’t been dumbed-down enough for your average 40k player, but I don’t regard as a bad thing.

    I’d like to point out that what Gav has posted here is exactly why the latest Chaos Codex got me back into the hobby: it’s a wonderfully flexible book that’s a great jumping off point for me to take in my own direction. Kudos!


    • I think the mighty HBMC covered most of the bases with Chaos, but let me touch on two things:

      First of all, so that my biases are known, these are my armies:

      Alpha Legion
      Death Guard
      Tau Sa’cea Sept
      Crimson Fists
      Craftworld Iyaden
      Ork Kult of Speed

      Anyway –


      The Dread crazed/frenzy rule was stupid from the beginning because it made it so that you have no idea what your Dread is going to do. If I arm a Dread with big guns then I want it to shoot every turn. If I arm a Dread that bashes people then I want it to not stop and shoot on its second turn. I’ve never had a Dread shoot my own guys before, but the stupidness of the Crazed chart has not changed. The reason Loyalist Dreads are so much better is a Loyalist knows what its Dread is going to do as soon as he puts it on its list. If it’s going to shoot it’ll shoot all game and if its going to bash then most likely it’s going to be landing in a Pod amidst enemy lines first turn.

      So why is that damn rule still in Gav’s supposedly streamlined codex?

      Lash –

      The people that are defending Lash have clearly never used Lash in an intense game against a race that doesn’t have psychic defense. I’m talking about the likes of Tau and Orks. Obviously Eldar or Marines who can just put on a hood of blighting the enemy Psyker are fine.

      ‘Use transports’ and ‘kill the lash’ and ‘use LoS’ arguments are the typical of the theoryhammer plays-once-a-month against the exact same army dude. If a Slaaneshi sorcerer (or two) is in a squad of 10 CSMs or Raptors then you can lash the hell out of enemy Crisis Suits and Orks. The Tau or Ork player can’t sit in transports all game and any Chaos player with two braincells can preserve their Lashes against Tau shooting (which has to get into Lash’s reach to do most of its damage) and know not to try to get into the path of an unthinned Ork mob. And you’re either kidding yourself or fighting a really generous opponent if you think you can set up the board so that you’ll have perfect los-block against Lash until you can neutralize it. It only has to work once to completely break the enemy game.

      I sincerely doubt that any Lash defender has actually played against Lash in either matchup. And I also doubt that Gav tested Lash in either matchup. And that’s the problem.


      • “The people that are defending Lash have clearly never used Lash in an intense game against a race that doesn’t have psychic defense. I’m talking about the likes of Tau and Orks. Obviously Eldar or Marines who can just put on a hood of blighting the enemy Psyker are fine.”

        The strength of Weapons/ Units/ etc are accentuated when used against certain units or armies, and depreciated when used against others. It creates variety in the type of tactics, army builds and sheer gamestyle for players to appreciate and enjoy in a game of 40k.

        Is there anything wrong with that? I mean, is the challenge to defeat your opponent not one of the many thrills that makes 40k the exciting hobby that it is?

        Don’t get me wrong, the Tau are one of the armies that I play and I do feel that the Codex is in desperate need of a revisit in light of changes done with 5th ed. (Cant say or even insinuate that there’s anything weak about the Ork codex…) But that as well is also part & parcel of the hobby, unless we all want to still be playing Rogue Trader today.

        And for the record I call myself neither a Lash defender or attacker. Lash is in the codex.(and I won’t make assumptions that it wasn’t properly tested in development. If it comes to the point where I feel that GW is consistently not delivering on quality I will leave the hobby altogether) It has it’s strengths as well as limitations. The fun part is figuring those out and adapting your tactics to counteract that.

        Or should the exact course of a game be spelt out in a Codex as well?


      • With regards to this response vs Nurglitch’s post, this is far more correct.

        Mechanized ameliorates but does not eliminate the potency of Lash, an absolutely brutal power at a stupidly low cost on a model that you were likely to take anyhow since Lords and the named characters are so underwhelming. 24″ reach on a model with a 12″ move is not at all short range.

        And that’s the ultimate problem that many people have with the CSM codex: the options that are good are so much better than the other options that there’s a tiny, tiny handful of ways to play the game if you want to play competitively.

        If you gave two competitive players two different codices, the current one and a dumbed down one with nothing but Daemon Princes, Sorcerors, Plague Marines, CSM, Rhinos, and Oblits, the former’s lists are going to mirror the latter’s in 90% of selections.

        Although Gav has a point when he says that creating exhaustive rules ala the old codex removes creativity, having OPTIONS that are VIABLE is far, far more liberating than a generic ‘too obvious not to take’ sort of construction with some units plainly inferior to others.


  18. Jeez i hope this doesn’t turn into an opportunity for internet poo slinging at Gav! I for one certainly appreciate all the work that you have done for my(our)hobby over the years, Thanks Alot Man!
    Now, in regards to the CSM:Codex; I am an avid Chaos player, cult lists only. I didn’t have a problem with the codex as it stood at the time it came out, in fact i remember hearing complaints of “over-power” as usual with a new codex release. However, now the issues that i’ve started to see seem to stem from compatability/competitive-ness especially with the new 5th ed. books, obviously beyond your control at this point. This doesn’t make any unit “unplayable” or “shyte” but rather, risker. These “risky” units are hard to justify the points for when up against the cheaper units and special characters all over the new dex’s. For example 2 daemon princes are way more reliable and points cost effective than .. well any HQ choice and we can hardly afford a dreadnaught that attacks his buddys about 30% of the time, in one-off small games. I mean its hilarious and fluffy but too risky. Dont get me wrong, ill use risky units in 2000+ point games, when we care not from where the blood flows! And this is all par for the 40k codex creep course, IMO at least some units always come to the forefront of any codex, even the new ones.
    My only REAL complaint is that Chaos Sorcerers have no psyker defence/dispell or bonus. Basically, the new Space Marine codex assures that the lowliest SM Librarian from Chapter X has access to more powers and can nullify the powers of the “Most Feared Scorcerers in the Galaxy”. RAR! I just lament having to use Obliterators in my Thousand Sons for what my Sorcerer should be able to do. But dont worry about the haters, you certainly gave us enough to kick around imperial asses till they bring on some new manifestation of our gods chosen warriors.


  19. First off I’m glad to see you addressing this problem. Hopefully you will gain some insight into what the players like and hate from the comments here. Most people that I have met or talked to on forums seem to dislike the new codex.
    Four of my friends have been chaos players for their main army, out of about 12 who play 40k.
    One was a word bearer player, who made extensive use of cultists. He quit before the new edition came out, but nevertheless his army would not be possible with the new book (and he would probably quit then if he hadn’t already). The “counts as” of lesser daemons is not a decent solution as their rules do not at all represent chaos-aligned humans.
    The second player I know is a generic chaos player. He started after the new book came out, and having seen the old book, is unhappy that he could not take advantage of the fun and flexibility that the old book had. You can only stretch “these terminators with icon are actually legion terminators, but they have worse abilities than the power armor traitor legionnaires, ignore that”, “this servo arm is actually a power fist without the special rules”, and “these traitor guardsmen are actually daemons, with daemon stats, and have to be summoned”. His army is painted iron warriors, but is unable to use any of the unique iron warriors items from the old book, like servo arms and a basilisk, or even veteran skills to make his troops tank hunters.
    The third I know is a Death Guard player. He looked through the chaos book of the second player when he bought it, and hated every bit of it. His death guard terminators would now somehow have inferior gifts than his death guard marines, gifts which vanished for no reason when their icon was destroyed. The new book wouldn’t let him customize his terminator lord with all sorts of wargear, or trick out his plague carrier rhinos. He wouldn’t be able to use the bonuses that he gained from following his death guard army structure in the old book. He, needless to say, did not buy the new book.
    The last player is myself. I had a 2000 point Iron Warrior army in 3rd edition. It was my first real army, and I was so happy that the legion had its own special rules, unit options, and wargear. I made use of all of them. I had a basilisk, warsmith with kai gun and servo arm, many obliterator cult units, and had plans to buy a forgeworld vindicator tank. I did everything I could to make my army my own, using all the unique rules to make my army an interesting experience. I didn’t play 40k for a few years, and when I got back into it, I found the new codex waiting for me. I was greatly disappointed by it after reading it through in a store a few times, realizing that much of my army would be impossible, and the rest had become generic and less specific to my old Iron Warriors Legion rules. I quit 40k again, having my only army, and favorite army in all of 40k background (I read a lot) invalidated. I did not start up again until a couple years later, when I heard news of a new IG codex and dug out a small side army and decided to start playing 40k again.
    Now, it may seem like I have a lot of negativity for GW in general. This is not true. I like most new models that come out, quality is greatly improved and keeps improving (for the most part). Prices are pretty bad and that means it takes longer for me to make an army, which isn’t awful. However, it does make it a lot harder to convince new players to buy armies, as I have not been able to get anyone into the game since 3rd edition. I enjoy 5th edition quite a bit, and it is probably the best edition yet. I can see a 6th edition being released with relatively few tweaks, just as fantasy went from 6th to 7th. I like most new codexes that come out. The IG book had so many cool new units, although it did remove the old doctrines which were tons of fun. In fact most new codexes I like overall. Most I have a few gripes with, but most keep the spirit of the previous version of the codex alive. Codex CSM is the total opposite of this. It took what is in my opinion the best and most interesting codex ever, the codex that contained not 1 but 9 different army lists, a codex with an item or rule for everything that a chaos army should have.
    The new book is just awful. From a purely gameplay or competitiveness standpoint it is alright, as it can make a very powerful army list. However, these army lists are dry, bland, and contain few options and personalization. The old list could make so many different armies who all stood a chance of winning. From 3rd to 4th edition, we went from a fairly bland codex (3.0) to a fantastic codex with every option imaginable (3.5). However then we reverted to the bland, static, option-less codex design of 3.0. I understand that some things were changed to be in line with the new codex “style”. Armory being removed is alright, but why couldn’t you have just kept these items as options for the appropriate units? Why are there only a few generic daemon weapons now, rather than many unique ones like the old book had? Why are the gifts of the gods like banners, plague swords, etc. removed? Why can’t an army of plague marines take plague bearers and nurglings? Why do I have to have my keeper of secrets follow the same rules as my great unclean one? The codex CSM didn’t even get special characters to change army organization, not even an attempt to keep some of the old legion lists possible. I am very disappointed in this book, and it has made me doubt the competence of the GW design teams. I would recommend going over new codex ideas with a sample of players before you take away things that everyone likes.


    • I totally agree with what you’ve said regarding the removal of the interesting army variants and how counts-as doesn’t do the job. It’s what led to me and a mate setting up the website 40kdirectorscut.com so that we could produce codexes that catered to other players like us who preferred rare or specialised armies. Have a look at the chaos legion codexes and let me know what you think. If you like them then perhaps your other chaos-playing mates would be interested too?


  20. I find it helps the Dreadnought’s ‘Crazed’ Rule when people actually use the rules as they appear in the respective books (BRB and C:CSM) so that the Dreadnought doesn’t actually spin like a top to shoot things behind itself like a coke’d up Terminator (film, not Tactical Dreadnought Armour). It has to have LOS to pick a target. LOS isn’t backwards, it’s from the gun barrel.

    Blaming Mr. Thorpe for your choice to play the way you do (in my view, wrongly) is unfair. The Possessed, however, is an excellent point. I would very much like to know why it was thought a dice roll to determine ability was considered fair/an improvement.

    As for certain entries being rubbish, I beg you, name a Codex where every option was good? Phil Kelly is commonly considered the best Codex writer (attempting to avoid a value judgement here, as it is entirely subjective, but that is the inter-forum consensus) – yet a cursory survey of the Eldar Codex reveals no fewer than 5 unplayable/next-to-unplayable options in competitive play. The Codex, as a contemporarey of the aforementioned Chaos one, is hardly replete with options either.

    I await responses to my comments with bated breath. (Night Lords chewing gum provides all the flavour of Darkness. Now with added Fury Wing!)



    • I don’t really know what units are considered “unplayable” in the Eldar codex, so instead I’ll list the elements you typically see in a competitive army from both CSM and Eldar lists:

      Daemon Princes
      Plague Marines
      Termicide Terminators

      Marginal units: Defiler, Vindicator, Dreadnought, Havoks

      Guardian Jetbikes
      Dire Avengers
      Storm Guardians
      Fire Dragons
      Banshees (albeit with Doom synergy only)
      War Walkers
      Fire Prisms
      Wave Serpents

      Marginal units: Wraith Lord, Wraith Guard, Falcon, Guardians, Vypers

      By my count there’s at least 50% more total options for creating both ultra competitive lists and moderately competitive lists. The Eldar codex might have its share of crap units, but they seem to be far outweighed by the non-crap options.


      • Dire Avengers are ONLY chosen because they’re Troops, and have to be.

        Unplayable Eldar Units:
        Swooping Hawks
        Artillery pieces
        Wraithguard (Elites ones)

        Almost Unplayable:
        Shining Spears
        Striking Scorpions
        Jain Zar
        Dark Reapers
        Rangers (not Pathfinders)
        Wraithguard (Troops)

        Anyone who thinks otherwise either isn’t playing 5th (whatever they think) or is just wrong.

        Frankly, when you admit you don’t know which Eldar units are just plain bad, I don’t know why you consider yourself fit to begin this debate.


  21. I’m just starting to get back into 40K, and I’m going to play Chaos due to the fluff and modelling opportunities. I have to agree with the above poster however I don’t get Chaos dreadnoughts at all, why does Chaos have to be associated with randomness. There is most likely an argument about high risk – high reward I imagine how ever unless you have a 50% chance to fire-frenzy the enemy which seems unlikely it doesn’t seem particularly even.

    Perhaps that isn’t the game design of Chaos, however I know Space Marines are popular and well received in general, why can’t Chaos be similar (not the same) but just evil.

    And I just don’t understand Chaos Spawn at all, why would I ever take them.


    • “And I just don’t understand Chaos Spawn at all, why would I ever take them.”

      Perhaps the codices aren’t written from a tournament perspective?

      I play scenarios far more often than competitive games. Having a selection of units, good or bad is irrelevant when you’re playing something for the fun of the scenario and theme.

      Think beyond your own approach to the game.


  22. To the last comment –

    RE: Dread – Isn’t any way worse if you consider how Dreadnought facing works, which a lot of people misinterpret. Putting it simply – Putting the Dread facing toward the Enemy Army and your own stuff well behind it out of it’s arc of fires (Which it does! 45 Degrees! Fancy how many people forget it!) I think Dreads are still fine.

    CSM Characters – Make sense to me: Imperium helps each other and the CSM lot are selfish self glory hounds.

    Possessed – Power Weapons aren’t NEEDED, enough strikes do damage, if anything the new Space Wolves codex really shows this with Ragnar + Blood Claws. (Seen the new Codex at the local stores)

    Lash – It’s not overpowered in the least – Psy defense is cheap to the armies that can get it and if you can’t defend the Psy power, get Transports. Then kill the Daemon Prince which prolly has it, because he can’t hide all that well, really.

    To Gav – I appreciate the effort put into the book, but I think the main problem for it is it was too soon. Comparing the updates of the Orks, Space Marines, and Imperial Guard; the CSM look like they got the short stick right now and I’m sure now everyone wishes it was more fleshed out like those.

    But I’m having a hunch development policy has changed since you left, so I donno really what to say other than to say – It’s not your fault.


    • On the subject of the Lash, you say get a transport to avoid it… I wish I could, but Necrons have no Transports. The Lash murders Necron armies, 2 lashes, and 3 vindicators, is near enough a Phased Out Necron force by turn 2.

      Other than that I do think that the Chaos Codex is a good Codex, I don’t play Chaos, but the Codex has tempted me many times!

      Nice wrie up Gav, and a good Codex.


  23. I respect you for even writing this article, it takes a lot of guts to do that.

    However, you don’t really address the problems people have with the codex. Your discussion of your overall approach and the streamlining that went on is fine. The problem with the codex is that many of the units aren’t balanced properly. Some are overpowered for their points cost (obliterators, plague marines, lash) while others which were poor selections before are even worse now or are overcosted compared to similar units in the codex. It leads to a lot of cookie cutter lists because so few of the choices in the codex are balanced.


    • This is always the case, as my previous post stated. Fire Dragons are slightly cheaper than they ought to be. When released, Harlequins were ridiculously cheap, as were Banshees, while Hawks, Spears and Spiders ridiculously expensive. For Guard, Orgyrns and Ratlings are prohibitively expensive, while Penal Legion are both expensive and have rubbish random rules (the results are good, the randomness is rubbish) – veterans and Vendettas underpriced.

      It happens every time, grow up.


      • Grow up is about as immature a response as I can think of.

        No one is suggesting that every codex be perfectly balanced, that would be impossible without totally eliminating all variety. Problem with the chaos codex is that it is less balanced than most of the others. Oblits, demon prince, plague marines, or Lords, possessed, and thousand sons? Where is your money?


      • No it isn’t. Look at it’s actual contemporaries, in the ruleset it was written for. You might as well be comparing it to Rogue Trader the way you’re doing it.



  24. I’d just like to Thank you! For the options you gave us back in the Codex: Chaos Marines.

    As a player of 40K since the 1st edition and an avid player of the original Traitor Marine’s from Realm of Chaos. I was well chuffed with the new rules.

    Now my World Eater’s Berserker’s once again advance with the support of the Teeth of the Legion, the Tactical Squads.

    Once again my Death Guard grid forward under the guns of Death Guard Havoc’s.

    So I pay more points for the Icons and lose the bonus’s if the bearer is taken out, Well woo hoo! That make no difference whatsoever to me.

    You Sir & the Codex: Chaos Marines are a gem for all us veterans.

    It’s just a shame “Tournament Players” take so much fun out of playing this game.


    • Hey hey hey! Jerks may ruin games for you, whatever, but Tournament players are a vital part of the hobby – spending more money on average than others through changing army list, oh, and are not all jerks. There are as many fluff nutters who refuse to countenance the slightest deviation from rogue Trader fluff as there are people who only play to win. Don’t dare try to pin anything on those of us who enjoy playing a STRATEGY game competitively.


    • “Now my World Eater’s Berserker’s once again advance with the support of the Teeth of the Legion, the Tactical Squads.”

      The standard Chaos list in the previous Chaos Codex allowed you to do this. Nothing was stopping you from taking Berzerkers and standard Chaos Marines in a Chaos list.

      This Codex hasn’t changed that.

      “Once again my Death Guard grid forward under the guns of Death Guard Havoc’s.”

      There was nothing stopping you from taking Plague Marines and Havocs w/Heavy Weapons in the previous Codex.

      “It’s just a shame “Tournament Players” take so much fun out of playing this game.”

      I don’t see what ‘tournament players’ have to do with any of this? Why the elitist attitude Sulla?


      • You could take 6 Squads of Berserkers in 3.5 but they would spend all game chasing speeders and Land Raiders because of their stupid rule.

        I love how IW and NL and WB players love to bitch about their army being ruined in the new ‘dex when in 3.5 World Eaters was so unplayable it may as well have not even been part of the codex.

        Lots of elitist attitude from Chaos players.


  25. Hmm… where to start. Ok, simple disclaimer.

    Gav, I own the following Chaos armies:
    Word Bearers (loads of Marines & Daemons – my first Chaos army, started in 2nd Ed)
    Alpha Legion (loads of Marines & Cultists)
    World Eaters (follows the fluff to the letter with Sacred Number units and so on)
    Death Guard (7 units of 7 troops, all modelled very nicely, using a mix of 2nd Ed, 3rd Ed and even Forge World models – I like my Death Guard army)
    Iron Warriors (filled with Havocs and siege weapons and bands of fire-support warriors)
    Lost & The Damned (a mass of Mutants and Traitors backed up by Night Lord infantry, tanks and Defilers – I /really/ like my LatD army)

    Now, looking at what armies I play you can probably guess that I am one of those people who have a few issues with the current ‘Chaos’ Codex. And by a ‘few issues’ I mean ‘despise with a unyielding fury’. However, rather than spewing bile and personal attacks at you, I feel this discussion would be better served with an open look at exactly where my dislike of your Codex comes from (and I say ‘your’ because you are credited as the writer – I am well aware that there is much more that goes into a Codex than just what you write personally).

    But before we do this, as in any great debate or discussion, I need to directly address a couple of areas in your words above where I disagree.


    Specifically these words of yours – “They were only folded into the Chaos Space Marines in the previous version of the Codex.”

    I’m sorry to say this Gav, but there are only three possible explanations for why you’d say what you said here:

    A). You’re being forgetful.
    B). You have a selective memory.
    C). You’re lying.

    Why? Well, your comment simply isn’t true.

    What Chaos Codices/Army Books have included named God-specific Daemons as part of the Chaos Marine Army list?:
    1. Realms of Chaos – Slaves to Darkness
    2. Realms of Chaos – The Lost & The Damned
    3. Codex Army Lists – 2nd Ed (can’t find my copy, but as the specific Daemon profiles are in Codex Imperialis, I have to assume that they were included in the place-holder Codex that came with 2nd Ed)
    4. Codex Chaos – 2nd Ed
    5. Codex Chaos – 3rd Ed (Jervis’ one)
    6. Codex Chaos – 3rd Ed (Pete Haines’ one)

    What Chaos Codices/Army Books have NOT included named God-specific Daemons as part of the Chaos Marine Army list?:
    1. Your Codex.

    So really, the inclusion of Daemons as part of the Chaos Marine list isn’t recent, or just something that happened in the last Codex (Pete Haines’ Codex). It’s all of them – except yours. Even in Jervis’ original very thin and very uninspired 3rd Ed Codex (a Codex that has bears several striking similarities to yours), where the Daemons were a single entry, there were rules that allowed you to modify their statline to show the different types of Daemons.

    Now, yes, the 2nd Ed Codex – a glorious style of book that we can only wish GW would go back to – did have a Daemon World list in it, but it wasn’t the only list to have Daemons, it was simply the list you used to represent Daemons World Armies. The Codex also had a Chaos Cult army list. Can you imagine if, say, 4th Ed Tyranids had rolled around and Genestealers had been removed from the book, only to emerge in a Genestealer Cult Codex 8 months later, and the reason by the writer given was ‘Oh, they had their own list in another addition, so including Genestealers with the main ‘Nid list is more of a recent thing’? Tyranid players would have gone crazy. The same thing applies to Daemons.

    To put it another way – you took something away from Chaos that they had always had. Think about that.

    Restrictions vs Flexibility:

    As someone who has been quite vocal about my distaste for the ‘Chaos’ Codex, I have often come across the argument that the previous Codex was too restrictive and that this new Codex removed those restrictions therefore giving us more flexibility. This line of thinking is /technically/ true, but is actually quite disingenuous.

    How can I best explain this? I know: With ice cream!

    Say rather being a book with different Legions, it’s actually an ice-cream store with many different flavours. Say the flavours are:

    1. Chocolate ice cream.
    2. Strawberry ice cream.
    3. Honeycomb ice cream.
    4. Rocky Road ice cream.

    Mmm… sounds good, don’t it? And so much choice! But say that you could only have one flavour at a time. Aww! No fair. That’s so restrictive. But, at the very least, I can have all the different types, just not all at the same time.

    Now let’s say your Codex is also an ice cream store. The flavours you have are:

    1. Vanilla.

    But there’s no limit on how much vanilla I can have. I can have a little bit of vanilla, I can have a lot, I can have two scoops in two different bowls, three in eight bowls – any combination of vanilla that I want.

    But it’s still only vanilla.

    If I want Chocolate I can’t, and while I might have been restricted to only having one flavour at a time, at least I had the choice. Now I only have one choice. And having only one choice is the same as having /no/ choice. To extend the metaphor, all the Legions are now are different coloured tubs for vanilla ice cream.

    The idea that the old Chaos Codex was ‘restrictive’ and that the new one ‘frees up’ players and gets them away from proscribed gaming simply doesn’t hold water. I have always been of the opinion that fluff and rules should be congruous, and for the most part, Haines’ Codex got that right. It wasn’t balanced – not by any means, but what GW Codex is? – but the rules stuck to the fluff quite well, and so an army that followed the fluff made good use of the apparently ‘restrictive’ rules. Essentially I think you’re looking at it backwards. You’re trying to say that the old Codex forced you down a certain path – you play World Eaters hey, then you /must/ play this way and this way only!!!!! – but that wasn’t the case. It was often a case of I want to play World Eaters, what is their fluff, oh, they have that sort of formation do they, what do the rules say, oh, the rules are set up in such a way as to let you play as the fluff describes.

    And then, at its core, the previous Chaos Codex had the standard list which had no restrictions on units other than the rivalries between the Chaos Gods. You could have an army that had Plague Marines, and Thousand Sons in it, or Noise Marines and Berzerkers just by playing the standard list. At no point where you ‘forced’ or ‘restricted’ to play a specific Legion – the Black Legion covered everything!!!

    Your Codex doesn’t free anyone up or somehow release them from proscriptive or restrictive gaming. Why? Because it removed all the options. It’d be like being a star athlete who’s been confined in a small room and is finally let out, only to have his arms and legs cut off. In other words, what good is a lack of restrictions if there’s no choice to be had – you can have any flavour you like as long as it’s vanilla?

    So with that out of the way, I want to look at a few specific items within the Codex (and I’ll leave Daemons alone as they’ve been covered already).

    I’ve written ‘Chaos’ Codex a few times, rather than Chaos Codex, and the bunny-ears are intentional. The reason for that, as mentioned when I talked about Daemons, you have taken away things that Chaos has never or should never have lost.

    Daemonic Gifts are a good example.

    I know what you’re probably thinking – “Half the Daemonic Gifts weren’t even being used!” or perhaps “The system of limitations on gifts was too complex”.

    But you took Daemonic Gifts away from Chaos. You made them into Loyalist Marines with a Wargear List and nothing to make them Chaos besides a generic Daemon weapon and Marks. This isn’t a case of “there’s no rules for that axe” it’s a case of “there’s no way to represent the corruption inherent in worshiping Chaos… I just have all the same options a Loyalist Marine Captain has – what about this makes me a Chaos Commander?”.

    Daemonic Gifts, and the mutations/boons/curses given by the Chaos Gods has been part of Chaos since their inception – you know this, I don’t need to tell you. Realms of Chaos had D1000 – Dee-One-Thousand FFS – tables for mutations. Now I’m certainly not saying that we need or even should go back to such a level of granularity but consider Gav – you took one of the very things that makes Chaos /Chaos/ away! They’re not there any more. They’re gone. Hence ‘Chaos’.

    Your argue that you should need rules for various mutations etc.. I argue that mutations etc. are part of the fluff, and the rules should follow the fluff, therefore there should be rules for mutations etc.

    Marks vs Icons

    Why do squads of Marines forget whom they worship when the guy with the Icon dies? Why are there no Cult Terminators/Havocs/Bikers/Chosen? Why, if your aim was to remove restrictions, did you remove the options that had been previously restricted? Why does a Deathguard army now consist of some actual Plague Marines, and some Marines who may or may not forget what God they’re dedicated to?

    What was so bad about the Marks system? And is it too cynical to say that the reason it was changed to Icons was because the new Chaos Marine kit included a nice new plastic Icon and GW wanted people to buy said kit for said Icon ie. the models drove the rules in this instance?


    I very keenly remember Pete Haines’ designer notes in White Dwarf describing that the change to Possessed came about as people didn’t like the random nature. I thought it was a great idea – made Possessed instantly viable. Then we get the new one and they’re back to random again. Why?

    And, while we’re on the subject of Possessed please, Gav, tell us all – why do you roll /after/ deployment? Did you not ever stop and think that maybe rolling before deployment might be the better option, y’know, let plays have an inkling of what their Possessed are going to be able to do before they set them down on the table? Yes, no, maybe?

    Daemon Princes

    Now I saw your comment above that maybe you went too far, but why are the glorious veterans of thousands of battles, the champions of the Gods who have ascended to Daemonhood through their vile acts of slaughter limited to… wings or not wings. They can’t even get Daemon Weapons for crying out loud! It goes back to my ‘taking the Chaos out of Chaos’ thing, and why it’s a ‘Chaos’ Codex.

    I think a lot of people celebrated what could be done with Daemon Princes in Haines’ Codex, as it was such a big relief from the mono-dimensional boring choices from Jervis’ original 3rd Ed Codex. Then we get yours and it’s very similar to Jervis’ original entry. Was that by accident?


    WS3? They’re as skilled as Guardsmen in HTH are they? I’ve never understood this. Please explain it so I know. 🙂

    Lash of Torment

    I think you’ve probably heard enough on this subject, but really, how was the power of this… power… not caught in play testing?

    I realise now that I’m nitpicking, but those last two were something I had to ask. Getting back to my main point:

    The legacy of the current Chaos Codex is that it took the Chaos out of Chaos Space Marines. ‘Loyalists w/Spikes’ or ‘When Good Marines Go Bad’ is about the best way to describe the current Codex. You can better represent the various Legions using the current Loyalist Marine Codex than you can the ‘Chaos’ one, and that to me is a huge problem.

    Daemons are gone. You have to play a different army to have them now. Having a group that allows the mixing of Codices isn’t a way to explain away this problem either – not all groups are flexible, some groups are very large and need the structure of proscribed rulebooks to avoid arguments, and tournaments and leagues certainly can’t have custom armies.

    Daemonic Gifts and all those very Chaos-y upgrades and choices are gone.

    Legions are gone, reduced to paint schemes and fluff.

    /Chaos/ is gone.

    Being restricted to one of four options is better than having unlimited choice with one option.

    – HBMC


    • Wow. I was getting ready to drop a point by point criticism of the new ‘Chaos’ aesthetic, but this post just nailed it.

      Gav, I do respect your point of view, really. I think you contributed a massive amount of greatness during your time at the GW studio… but that ‘Chaos’ codex wasn’t it. It was a complete kick in the teeth to the original dread legions, where 10,000 years of struggle now made them only as good as any johnny-come-lately quick convert to Chaos.

      Yes, a portion of my bile is due to the fact I was right in the middle of painting up 11 bases of nurglings for by Death Guard legion. Suddenly having them wiped from the list made me more than a little bitter. In fact, I almost quit the whole hobby right there out of disgust (no, not just because of the nurglings, but because of the over-all dumbing down of the codex… and that’s what it looked and felt like: a dumbing-down).

      That codex felt like a massive step backwards, going back to the thin and lack-luster early 3rd edition codex, as if the in between codex had never happened. It felt lazy, it felt like a quest to appease some whiners at the expense of everybody who actually liked the complexity of the previous codex. And Chaos was always about complexity; complexity was the very definition of Chaos.

      Now, to add a few points to HBMC’s wonderful post:
      –Why does a Space Marine suddenly forget all of his skills once he converts to Chaos? For that matter, why did all of the 10,000 year old first legions suddenly forget all of their skills? May have been a tank hunting ace just last week, suddenly he can’t tell the front armour from the back armour (hyperbole added for effect).
      –And what the hell was the notion behind changing the Chaos bike special weapon rules (beyond the fact that it didn’t match the models)? Given that EVERY other unit exchanges basic ranged weapons for special ranged weapons, why are bikers suddenly tossing their chainswords away but holding onto their dinky bolt pistol when they pick up a melta-gun? It moves beyond the ‘doesn’t make sense’ stage all the way to ‘completely-counter-intuitive-bordering-on-insane’.

      Yes, it’s wonderful that there was a plan for expanded legion specific codex books later, except for two things:
      (1) None of that was ever communicated to the people who felt gutted by the vanilla codex, either at the time of release or after as the steaming hatred mounted. Not a bit. As far as we knew, the legions were dead and only ‘renegade’ Space Marines mattered to the Studio. And worse…
      (2) We all know by now (and you can’t exactly claim ignorance of this) that “we plan on doing it later” phrases from GW studio aren’t worth anything. In fact, they have generally proven to be an indication that it will never, ever happen. It wasn’t even that the ‘future’ books were within view, coming within a year or so, on the horizon (as the much trumpeted Daemon Codex was). They weren’t even in any working stage, as far as we can tell. They were a nebulous pipe dream, a “maybe if we get around to it”, which means “never”.

      I have gotten over some of my bitterness. Took a year and a new edition of the core rules, but I eventually got around to trying to rejig my existing armies to fit the new bland-fest. And I can see some value in a wide open, no restrictions list… but only in terms of appeasing people who can’t understand complexity. It smacks of a lowest-common-denominator move (the aforementioned dumbing-down). And was especially dumb when Apocalypse was the very next release with wide-open-lists as one of its reason d’etre.


    • Excellent post! You have summed up everything I would have said and have indeed said many times…Chaos is there in name only and all of the feel and fun is gone. I won’t play them again until a good codex is presented, which most likely means I will never play them again.


    • Just as with ph34r above, I think that the answer lies with using an unofficial codex until a codex that you approve of is released. To this end I invite you to check out our attempts at making cult legions at 40kdirectorscut.com, particularly your feedback on our lost and the damned codex. I imagine that since you so strongly disapprove of the current dex and our work is based on tweaking them to better represent the fluff that they won’t be perfect for your needs, but perhaps they will be of assistance in forming your own homemade codex.

      P.S. I think you’re right about the 2nd ed. army lists pamphlet. For some reason I can’t find mine right now but I do remember daemons being an option in the chaos list and that there were several statlines under the one entry, so they must have had different stats for daemons of different gods.


    • Right on, brother! As a Death Guard player myself I can see no logic in this codex. So the basic troops (Plague Marines) get Feel No Pain, Fearless and blight grenades while the Lord or Daemon Prince leading them gets only +1 toughness and does feel pain? And the Terminators/Chosen who are supposed to be the best of the Legion need an icon to be tougher and are not Fearless? OK, maybe the plan was to bring out Legion-specific codices, but that was never made clear and GW’s stupid marketing strategy of letting rumours float around unchecked only serves to confuse and anger customers who feel strongly about their armies.


    • I have to say I agree.

      In addition, there is a section of the article that is used to justify some of the changes. That section mentions that the previous version of the codex had WD article’s modify it. That was the original 3.0 verison. The IA articles were applicable to that version of the codex.

      The entire article uses the two different 3rd edition codecies to make it’s point. The problem is, the 3.0 (vs 3.5 version) were quite different. The logic that was used to argue that the addition of legion books was against the 3.0 version. Invalidating that whole argument.

      The whole article takes little account of the actual rules that were available during 3rd. Such as the discussion of SOB and Marine armies, or navy troops. This was available through the WH and GK codecies. You could include IG and highly trained IG in marines, you could include SOB in marines armies. You could even have the option of Daemons in ork armies. So that kind of invalidates another section of the informed argument.

      I would say that taking the actual rules and what was published during 3rd, and weighing each section of the article against them, does much like HBMC says.

      As the creator of the emperorschildren.net, I was a devout Emperor’s Children player. Was until the new codex that requires “count as”. I have played since RT era, and maintained the EC.net for years. Now I can’t even defend the EC. Troops more dedicated to gods then chosen.

      I do think that restriction is what chaos is about. The Lord of Khorne doesn’t get to choose to watch football on sundays, he must kill, kill, kill. It is very, or was to me, well done in that as you chose a path of power, you had less options. Of course, I played EC and that one had lots of options (poor tzeentch).


      Well as HBMC says, I can have my vanilla CSM and pretend I am eating my once flavorful empeor’s children.

      Put best, and in my sig over on the B&C:

      The sole root of the problem for many of us is that now are are just a paint scheme, when before we were so much more.


  26. First off, I would like to say that I really like the newest version of the C:CSM list. I think it balanced a lot of power issues that were present in the last (3.5) list, without resorting to the abomination that was the first 3rd edition book.

    That being said, I would wager that a lot of complaints about the power level of C:CSM come not from the list itself, but from the way other lists have been treated since its release. When C:CSM was released, we were told that it was representative of how things were going to be from now on, that lists were going to cut down on blatantly-overpowered options, that “variant lists” would be gone, and that everyone else’s books would be following similar trends. This was backed up by C:DA and the C:BA minidex, which featured similar changes.

    Then, C:Orks came out, and a lot of those trends were bucked, but it was ok, because they were Orks and deserved a boost. Then, 5thE and C:SM came out…and all of a sudden, C:CSM looked terrible. Captains and Chapter Masters get an entire PAGE of wargear options, and all kinds of fancy weapons and equipment, and a built-in 4+ invulnerable save. Chaos Lords get…a third of a page, and need to take an expensive upgrade to get that 4+. Those weapons that were “overpowered” in C:CSM 3.5, like the Dark Blade (*gasp*! A power weapon that adds to the model’s strength? That’s WAY too good!) suddenly showed up in the hands of Loyalist marines. Spiky Bits, removed for being unnecessary, were melted down and reforged into “Digital Weapons” and were handed out like candy. Chaos Raptors were apparently too good, so it made perfect sense to make the Loyalist version cheaper. And apparently, Chaos Land Raiders can’t fit 12 models in them because of the piles of heresy stashed in the corners. Chaos Sorcerers have to pay different prices to pick from a list of marginally useful psychic powers, and have to pay through the nose for the chance to have two powers…something even the lowliest Librarian gets for free. Never mind the fact that the powers available to Librarians are ridiculously destructive! Oh, and those first-year Librarians get a piece of wargear that nullifies those Sorcerers’ abilities almost every time…for free.

    From a fluff standpoint, it doesn’t make sense that traitors wouldn’t have access to these new pieces of equipment. Or, are we to believe that, upon forswearing their oaths of loyalty, Space Marines leave behind a pile of relic blades, land speeders, assault cannons, and storm shields, and instead pick up autocannons and twin-linked bolters? And if the emphasis of the list is on recently-turned renegades, how is it possible that all dreadnoughts suffer from, and I quote, “A creeping insanity mixed of fear and fury” that “has riddled their brains over the long millennia”?

    C:CSM has a list of overpriced, underperforming special characters that fail to add anything to a list they are involved in. C:SM has a list of UNDERpriced, OVERperforming special characters who also have the tendency to improve the entire army. And then there’s the issue of more wargear inequivalencies. Abbadon carries the Talon of Horus, right? A weapon that was forged Pre-Heresy, wielded by the greatest of the Primarchs, no doubt warped and infused with the very essence of Chaos, right? It has a built in twin-linked bolter. Pedro Kantor? He’s got this dusty old storm bolter that can blow through Scout armour easily, and fires 4 shots a turn…while Marneus Calgar and the Ultramarines get a pair of power fists with a storm bolter that MELTS TERMINATOR ARMOUR. Seems a little odd, doesn’t it?

    And then don’t get started with all the rumours about C:SW. It looks like that might be the nail in the coffin for arguments about C:CSM.

    So yeah, Gav, I think you wrote an AWESOME codex. Prior to the current book, I never used Berzerkers, rarely used Plague Marines, and was reluctant to use Daemon Princes. Now, I include all of them, and I have a lot of fun. In fact, I would be willing to go out on a limb and say that C:CSM is my FAVORITE CODEX, and is probably the most-balanced list I’ve ever seen from GW. The only real power issue comes from the Lash of Submission, and that is more an interaction problem than a power problem in and of itself – it’s not that the Lash is overpowered, but rather how well it interacts with other options.

    I’d say that the biggest problem comes from how GW decided to ditch the whole “cut down on options” plan shortly after C:CSM came out. And that’s not your fault. Gav, I APPLAUD you for a job well done…while at the same time spitting curses at those who have brought us the problems outlined above.


    • The complaints have never really been about the power level of the new codex.


  27. Just wanted to give a shout out in thanking the author for having such a discussion online – its a godsend for this community although I sure as hell wouldn’t want to deal with disgruntled wargamers.


  28. Okay, here goes.

    Let me start with thanking you for this post here. It is a very rare opportunity that gamers like us can talk to someone in your position. I don’t think that the posts here will have much impact on whatever GW plans on doing with the next Chaos book but I need to share my thoughts on the subject with you anyway.

    I don’t like the new Codex.

    HBMC has already made some very good points so I’ll try to keep this brief. I started playing Death Guard with the last Chaos Codex. Plague Marines and Nurgle Deamons were always my favourite models in the whole Chaos range and the play style was very different from what I was used to with my Orks.

    Granted, 3.5 was indeed very complicated and might even had a few options too much. But what I liked most about it where the legion rules. I played an army dedicated to Nurgle and Nurgle only and it was pretty cool. This is still possible with the new book but not nearly as interesting.

    The thing which bothers me most are the icons. In 3.5 I had an army of Plague Marines, including Plague Terminators and Plague Havocs. Now I have Plague Marines and Terminators and Havos who are…well…they smell a little, but they’re not really Nurgle units.

    I can live with using Demons only in larger battles but the flavour of the army has gone stale when there is only one REAL Nurgle unit left.

    Oh, and Possessed went from “really good” to “almost useless”.

    That is all I have to say for now.


  29. @HBMC –

    You’re too caught up on it being a ‘Chaos’ Codex. It’s a ‘Chaos Space Marine’ Codex. There IS distinction.



    • Yeah, it’s the ‘chaos space marines’ codex, that’s one hundred percent correct. But Why shouldn’t we get hung up on it being a CHAOS space marines codex, especially since we already have a ‘space marines’ codex. Considering that CHAOS is the thing that differentiates this codex from vanilla marines, I’d say that it’s the most important part of the codex. Without the chaos, you might as well just play spiky ultramarines – which the new book is much closer to than older editions.


      • I disagree. There is no equivalent to Plague Marines, Noise Marines, Defilers, Daemon Princes, Berzerkers, or, especially, Obliterators.

        The CSM Codex isn’t a Chaos Codex, it’s a book designed to represent what the Chaos Space Marines have in common, and to allow you to field a generic force of said CSM on the tabletop. Compare it to the 4th Ed SM Dex if anything. Comparing Editions is like comparing Zebras and Lions. Just because they’re from the same place doesn’t mean a thing.


      • Okay? So there’s no equivalent in the Loyalist codex. In the Chaos codex, there is no equivalent to Sternguard (don’t you dare argue for Thousand Sons), Vanguard, Command Squads, Honor Guard, Ironclads, Venerables, Scouts, Scout Bikers, Land Speeders, Land Speeder Storms, Attack Bikes, Thunderfire Cannons, Land Raider Crusaders, or Land Raider Redeemers. So there goes that argument out the window.

        The thing is Chaos Space Marines are just that: CHAOS Space Marines. That is the differentiating factor between Chaos and Loyalists. You’ll notice that everything you listed is a very Chaos thing. You can’t argue that just because they’re Space Marines turned to Chaos, they won’t have Daemons, Daemonic Gifts, etc. Chaos is ABOUT that stuff. If Chaos was just about evil spiky marines, in my opinion they could easily be consolidated into a little blurb in the Marine codex about a bunch of chapters that split off and do their own thing now. Clearly this wouldn’t work.

        I just don’t know how to stress the Chaos nature of Chaos Space Marines to you enough, because clearly you don’t seem to be getting it.

        Wow, that almost sounded like an attack on Gav and TheKingElessar. Which it wasn’t. Props to Gav for writing the Codex in the first place, and succeeding in certain areas to be sure. So most of the stuff didn’t work out. Well, as this can’t apply to Gav anymore, if any of the Studio are reading this, let this be an example of what to stay away from.

        I’m going to wrap up by saying to Gav: thanks for putting in the effort to write the Codex (few people realize how much effort is involved in a Codex). And on top of that, thanks for the article. It’s gratifying to see your opinions on the Codex.

        So now there’s only one thing left to do: to point fingers away from Gav and at GW for not following through on their Legion plan!


      • I just thought I’d add that if I ever had the fortune to play you Gav, then none of my arguments hold any water and the Chaos codex is indeed fine in that context. But not everyone is as willing to see things your way!


      • LordSandwich, 6 of the things you name were introduced in a SM Dex AFTER the release of this Chaos one, making this part of your argument irrelevant. See my earlier “comparing Editions” point.

        Anyway, Chosen are a Scout equivalent, after a fashion. Again, if you draw examples from another 4th Ed Codex than your argument is valid, but not otherwise.


    • I am 100% on board with what HBMC has said here.

      I could re-hash what has been covered already, but I would actually like to make a comment on this article. Please do not take this as an attack on you, as no one deserves to be slandered. The problem I have with this article is that, at the end of the day the vast majority of Chaos players will agree that the current chaos codex is lacking in almost every way, yet you never address this.

      I think a lot of people just want to hear, “Yeah guys, the codex didn’t really turn out like we had hoped. Ah well, win some/loose some. We promise to get this fixed”. Just so we know that it matters to you guys.

      GW (and to be honest, yourself) seem to be afraid to admit their mistake, release a decent FAQ, and update some of the odd rules (like rolling for possessed after deployment, Icons, or changing the crazed rule from the last edition). We don’t hate you for it; we won’t burn GW to the ground for it, or even quit playing. We just want to feel comfortable with the money we spend on your company’s goods, and right now, we don’t.

      I will say that personally, the hardest part of the new codex was loosing so many toys, and seeing later codex’s get so many new ones. I think you can appreciate that to some of us, this feels like you and your company just gave us the finger.

      After all is said and done however, I do hope that you get to put your input into the Legions codex. I like the goals and objectives you set in keeping the codex understandable and flexible, I just think you got a little knife-happy, and cut to much out. 😛

      Anyway, thanks for the hard work you put into this, and for trying to reach out to your customerbase!


      • Writing a balanced codex isn’t that easy (I’ve also been working on a alternate version) but writing one that improves on the last isn’t that hard either, it just takes a little more thought, play testing and feed back from experienced players.

        Gav with all your experience (including lessons that should of been learned from previous codices you’ve written) you really should of come up with something much better.

        Not like it’s going to happen now, but I for one would be happy knowing that you will not play a part in the next CSM codex, and something tells me you feel the same.


  30. Gavin Thorpe,
    I’m writing in behalf of everybody who reads this blog to thank you sincerely for the opportunity to respond directly to a representative of Games Workshop about the way we feel (be it good or ill) about the work you’ve done.
    Too often we, as fans, feel that Games Workshop is not listening to us; so getting explanations like yours, and especially the chance to respond, is a rare treat that is appreciated by all who comment here. Whether the comments compliment or criticize, we’re all grateful to be heard!
    Thanks for your contribution to this game we love.


    • Well said!


  31. At first, I disliked the new dex. After a few games, I found it MUCH more streamlined the the 3rd ed. I really think it needs supplementing (fingers crossed for Legion codices). I really don’t care, for I’m a Black Legion player, but guys who play Death Guard, Iron Warriors, ect. kinda got screwed. All in all, I only have a few minor complaints: I miss human-sized Daemon Prices, and specialty weapons like the Kai Gun. I don’t like not having dedicated Terminators, and that they are not Fearless. I sorta miss Veteran Skills. I REALLY miss the Parasitic Possession vehicle upgrade. However, there are many things about the codex which I like. Oblits are better, Abaddon is better, Land Raiders are cheap (still want Parasitic Possession though), and the fact CSM get the “ultimate true grit” rule. So there is some gripes and some praises, I hope you don’t mind the gripes and appreciate the praise, lol.


  32. Your argument is basically, ” If you do not like then don’t play it.”

    Okay so the point of me purchasing the codex is…

    Since we are making up our own rules and everything i guess its just not needed at all.

    Also, will they have a problem with me bringing my Chaos Codex to Gameworkshop events and playing according to my rules?

    i can provide the players with copies of my codex.

    Ultimately, the game has a set of rules so that I do not have to sit there and explain to my opponent whom I may have just had a friendly pick up game with at a convention or store what my army does.

    Its why we have rules so that I don’t make up my own and bring them up having to explain the nature of the army.

    My oppnent knows to a degree what is in my army as he has access to my rules.

    What you did was ultimately make

    Codex : Chaos Space Marines ( Generic)

    The fun of playing chaos was that I don’t have to make up my own rules that they are there for me.

    Also, your argument fails in that if you look at the other Codexes they have Allowances such as Spae Marine Bike Captain allowing Space Marine Bikes as Troops or having 6 dreadnoughts etc..

    The rules are suppose to be permissive. What you wrote was basically Generic and then left up to the players to do your work for you.

    Whats the point of that ; I dont want to write a codex have ot explain all of my rules etc.. to my opponent.

    I want to be able to take my army to a event or store sit down and play a game without a 45 minute slide show and introduction onto what my army does.


    • Explaining your army list to your opponent, and making clear what all your units are and are equiped with (within reason) is part of setting up a game.

      I always make sure my opponent knows which of my squads are grey hunters which are blood claws which are wolf guard in power armour. What a Rune Priest is and “Yes a Wolf Lord is the same as a chapter master but with these diffrences…” This avoids confusion and allows my opponent to look up the rules for said units. (although i personally disagree with reading an opponents codex. Learning an opponents strengths and weaknesses through playing them is part of learning to be a good general.)

      This is normally done during army set up for ease and speed. Your opponent cannot be expected to pick out specific characters/units from your entire army without them being pointed out before hand. Otherwise you could change your list half way through the game.


    • I’m pretty sure your argument fails……

      What is generic about bezerkers, princes, death guard, noise marines, thousand sons, daemon weapons, warptime, etc??

      There are rules in the codex for you to follow. They have been simplified so your opponent can remember them all and doesn’t have to worry about the 1,000 upgrades in your army. Also, if you don’t have time to help your opponent understand your army (because they maybe new), you might as well just stick to your group of friends that know your army off by heart and get your arse kicked everytime.

      As you said at the top of your comment ‘if you do no like then don’t play it’. So pick another codex. Play the space marines and then you can complain about generic, you can like the other 90% of players in the world. Better yet, pick and Ultramarines army….


  33. Hey Gav,

    I gotta say as much as I respect you for putting that out there (which is a lot, defending your work against anonymous jacktards takes time and energy) – it doesn’t really address any of the issues raised by the frothing Tourneygamer crowd and realistically it never will!

    These people cannot be pleased and are possessed of a misplaced and incredibly disproportionate sense of entitlement. I suggest you ignore them completely and I suspect, by the lack of responses, that you already have.

    It’s not like you could stroll into GW tomorrow and start working on the next C:SM anyway, so I don’t know why everyone’s so intent on singling you out with their complaints!

    That said, for me this Codex, while more flexible, is as unfluffy as hell and frankly boring.

    Sure the last one was a behemoth and was weighed down with some overpowered rules and bloated mechanics but at least it was interesting and gave armies character. It also gave players substantial conversion options which actually made it worth their while to spend the time on. This new Codex is basically “okay guys you are like regular marines but evil probably, assuming you are not one of the 9,238 renegade chapters we invented just now”.

    Sometimes when you wield the knife, you cut too deep. The new Codex is more balanced (in some areas, and less in others) and streamlined which is great for tournaments (even if they don’t like it!) and great for kids.

    I respect that, and I don’t exactly miss playing against the old-school tooled-up Khornate Daemon Princes with their Berserker Glaives, but it’s a real shame to see what so-called “Chaos” has forced to become to survive in this new Codex. I feel the old one was stronger for its depth, even if it had some dumb restrictions, and it really rewarded the dedicated hobbyist and painter with some fuckin-sweet tabletop options.

    Around my easy-going, nobody-cares-about-the-rules part of the world, we still use the last Codex and by gum we like it that way! I suggest everybody else do the same.

    Yours sincerely,
    Somebody Aware That It Is All Just A Game


    • Why does everyone complain to Gav?

      Because he did bad. And they want to make sure that he knows that, and hopefully get an admission of failure.


  34. The studio lately has been stressing that they’re trying to make codecies that fit the background and are guidelines to how to approach an army.
    What I don’t understand, is why is that mutually exclusive from game balance ideology? They’re not mutually exclusive.

    The key component of games design has always been about fun…game balance is but a small part of the big equation. But it’s still part of the equation. I think guidelines and background are necessary as well, but I think forgetting about micro and macro balance hurt the codex as a whole.

    For instance, look at the concept behind chosen and how it was implemented. The rules didn’t represent them being CHOSEN, simply by virtue of their stat and option similarity to basic chaos marines! So of course, people picked the cult marines over the chosen. How are they chosen? Ruleswise, they’re chaos marines with infiltrate…that’s the key thing you’re missing…too much time was spent on background and guidelines, but the rules didn’t accurately represent the background or the guidelines.

    In the context of the chaos codex, the chosen simply didn’t make any sense…they seemed less chosen than plague marines because of their balance issues.

    Once again, background and guidelines are NOT mutually exclusive with rules design and games balance.

    I’m sorry Gav, but I feel you missed the boat on this one.


  35. Hi Gav,

    This is not the internet, it’s your space, so I’ll mind my manners. First, kudos, on your career, your design, including inquisitor (great concept, wrong medium)and all the best with your writing and ongoing design work. Stick about, sharpen your sticks and you will have plenty of places to shine in game design.

    In general I think most of the critique over the years was that you tended to lean towards mega units (Abaddon)which are fun to play with but not against. We all want a power edge, but the game can’t endure anything that tips the balance. probably half of the anti gav animus was tinged with the joy you gave us when we were playing the right side of the contest.

    With Chaos Space Marines, it was wierdly different this time, in that a lot of power players felt robbed of our favorite toys: BLOODTHIRSTER! So in that sense it was a new line of gav critique.

    Personally I don’t fault you at all. I think the studio leadership made a mistake with suddenly making Chaos Daemon freestanding, in the way they did.

    Also the process of Codex upgrading is slow, and this can be extremely painful for players who are often emotionally and financially committed to their toys, and feel real pain, when their hobby efforts up to a point are suddenly “nerfed” by a new publication.

    Truth is, LEGIONS is the true core of chaos and always has been.



  36. (Continued)

    Your codex actually builds and plays pretty well. But for anyone who played Nightlords, Alpha Legion, Lost and Damned, Death Guard, Thousand Sons, etc etc, it was painful after the amazing details and support of the Haines codex, to find a book that had totally abandoned the Demon-based structures, gifts and units.

    The crazy thing about GW is that its a slowly turning lathe that always comes back. So about 7th edition the company will probably get to the point where they can get the balance right: 5 chaos codexes; One for each God and one undivided (where you throw in nightlords, iron warriors, black legion and the rest) You have to agree that it is the only way to do justice to the cultural riches in fluff and literature, hobbying, and gaming and to all the amazing armies that all the players have built over the years.

    Anyway, cheer up Gav! Gav bashing is its own hobby for some, just as Jervis bashing is for others! Don’t trouble with it,we all have a mean streak, and the (even slightly) famous are simply available as targets for a rage that would otherwise has us denigrating Tony Blair or George Bush or someone else.

    Keep on writing, and game designing!

    Your many labours for the industry are appreciated, and your value is real.

    OTG (Orc Town Grot, my online name)


  37. I didn’t have a problem with Daemons being split off into their own army until I saw their Fantasy army book.


    • It is my understanding, though I could be mistaken, that the decision for a Daemons of Chaos Army Book preceeded the Codex version.


    • Yeah, that book ended up pretty screwed up too.


    • Chaos should simply and explicitly be permitted to ally with units from Codex Deamons. This fix would suffice for most I think.


  38. While it would be nice to have several different books for different Chaos Space Marines, realistically is it going to happen? Games Workshop moves slowly enough without another load of Codexes added. By the time they get everything on their plate finished it will be time to revise the main CSM book again.

    And anyway, do we really want even MORE marine armies?

    From what’s been said, GW don’t even know what they are going to do with the alleged “other Codexes”. Things like this should have been sorted prior to writing the CSM codex. Tell the players exactly who the list is supposed to represent and who it isn’t.
    (with a note about its your army and you can use whatever rules you want blah blah)

    I think that’s the major problem with the Codex, it doesn’t know what it wants to be. If it’s not supposed to represent Cult legions, why are Ahriman, Kharn and such in it? If it’s supposed to represent newly turned Renegades why do they all have pre-Hersey equipment?


  39. Great article, but I do have one question: Why were T-son’s Inferno Bolts changed from an Anti-infantry blast weapon that could be bought, to a mandatory Anti-meq weapon? The added cost is really starting to hurt in 5th ed, where most marines can still get a 4+ cover save.


  40. I’m not sure what it is about the CSM Codex that garners such negativity. There’s so much cool stuff to mess around with, my favourites including Thousand Sons and the ugly little swiss-army knives that are Obliterators. I can field a giant robot crab monster. Its got the most varied Troop choices I’ve ever seen, you can make a list which uses up 1 HQ and all your troop slots and nothing else, and still be able to take on most opponents. And if you’ve still got points spare, you can fill up on Lesser Daemons to throw at the enemy.

    No other list lets me make a character who’s only tactic is to charge into the enemy and die, just to summon an even bigger monster, and that’s why Codex: Angry Spiky Jarheads is awesome.


  41. “The outlook on this seems to come from a purely traditional approach – that there was a Daemons list and a cultists list in the 2nd edition 40K Codex: Chaos. Even then, they were separate lists! They were only folded into the Chaos Space Marines in the previous versionof the Codex.”

    That’s revisionist history. The 2nd edition Codex Chaos included a chaos space marine list with a full uncut compliment of daemons and the summoning point rules which oozed 2nd edition classyness.

    You don’t understand why people are disapointed in the current Chaos Space Marine codex Gav – it’s a strong list with lots of possibilities. One thing i realy like about it is that it opened up my imagination to chaos space marines that are dedicated to a particular god but in a different way to the cults …. the thing people (or at least myself and those i know) are most dissapointed about is that the last codex had so much character and class which is now gone.


  42. We’ve chatted briefly once before Mr. Thrope I believe on Warseer, however as you can probably ascertain I am a detractor to the Chaos Codex.

    I’ve played Warhammer 40,000 for 15 years. I got my first minatures when I was a wee boy of 8 years old from my uncle, and spent months with my buddies trying to figure out how to play during the transition years of 3rd ed. My first army, prior to their actual codex release even, was Space Wolves. When I was fifteen, I found that Chaos Space Marines fit my fancy quite fine as the Space Marines and Chaos Space marines were all getting their articles within a few years.

    I started basically as the release of the new Chaos plastics came. I remember on my birthday getting 5 boxes of 8 man squads which I turned into my first glorious traitors. My Word Bearers. I always play boots, rarely taking vehicles in favor of manpower, and I generally find that this works for me.

    That said, the current Chaos Codex is stupidly powerful with this tactic. At 2,000 points I field 80+ marines typically. My problem is not with the combat effectiveness of Chaos Space Marines. As HMSC said earlier, my problem is the fact its not very Chaosy.

    Its got no choices, it makes little sense. Its one of the bigger disappointments of Games-Workshop I’ve experienced. Its *boring*, to put it bluntly. Its boring, predictable, and literally doesn’t make sense based off the backstory you wanted to give these marines.

    Renegades with Legionary wargear, yet no Legionary equipment? I’m honestly sorry Gav, but this doesn’t cut it. I don’t dislike you, I don’t think you went out of your way to say “Hah! I bet this will screw um over!”

    But there are now no Chaos players where I play. Of the 30 some odd folks that were regulars, we have five chaos space marines. Now we have none. Every one of us dropped the army eventually with the Codex. Yea, sure, I still own my Chaos army, and I was the last to stop playing them, but I did. Its not that they are weak, its that they are boring. They have crap wargear and rule choices, and are easily more represented by a loyalist codex.

    I’ve played Space Wolves, Word Bearers, Eldar (Briefly), Tau (briefly), Imperial Guard (Briefly), Space Marines (current), and Orks (current). And I can say of all those books, yours is my least favorite.

    And never before have I won with a codex so much. Thats right, under your codex I won more games than the prior, because of how good you made the average, basic Chaos Space Marine. 2 Plasma guns in the squad, champion, and the poorly thought up banner (I hate the Chaos Banners, really. Lemme pick “marks” thanks.), and your set to go with a squad of rock n’ roll than ain’t ever gonna stop.

    Doesn’t matter that your Chaos Lord sucks by contrast to almost every HQ in the game, and has no wargear choices.

    Doesn’t matter that your legion is poorly represented, even when you stay as true as you can to it.

    Doesn’t matter that my 2 dreads stayed at home every game with the new book.

    Does not matter that the Sorcerer kinda sucks compared to his marine counterpart.

    Because by golly, they will never beat my near full company of Chaos Space Marines at 2000 points. You can just throw 6 squads of 10 man Chaos Marines backed up by havocs, Chosen, and a single Lord, and you’ll be just destroying everything.

    But that doesn’t matter Gav, despite only losing 3 games with your book over 2 years, I couldn’t stand it. I literally could not stand how boring and unimaginative it was. I tried other builds, but they felt even less enjoyable. Your book (not you, as I don’t think you’d do this intentionally), effectively killed Chaos, and for a while honestly, the hobby for me.

    Then Codex Orks came out. I picked them up, and I loved them. The diversity, the choices, the wargear, the rules, they were all *FUN*, and fluffy. And so the last Chaos player in the region stopped playing Chaos.

    No one now represents the Dark Gods where I live, and honestly, with Space Marines, Orks, and Guard, and now Space Wolves who would? Who’d actually bother with this book, this bland tome of crap. I understand that everything was getting trimmed down, and the 3.5 codex was unacceptable on several levels, but this codex was NOT the answer.

    I haven’t seen a Chaos army played even outside of my city (I hit up Vancouver and Richmond, neighboring cities) from time to time, tournies and ect. I don’t see them. I think I saw one CSM player, who I also heard stopped to play C:SM’s, because he liked the book more.

    For myself, the results I’ve seen are the biggest judge on your codex Gav. I don’t see people using it. I see people using other armies instead. Chaos, once a mighty juggernaught in the lower mainland (the region, not city, I live in), almost as popular as Marines. Is all but gone.

    I know you may not think much of it, but after playing Chaos Space Marines for eight years, that makes me sad, because Chaos once was such a fun force. And then the new codex came out.

    Regards: Dylan.


    • Although you dislike chaos space marines, would you consider using a different army and turning it to chaos? If you did this then you could use the fun and flexibility of that army and still have daemonic chaosy stuff thrown in there as well. It’s what me and a friend have done, and we’ve even made a battle report featuring our 2 chaos guard forces to show how it’s done: http://www.40kdirectorscut.com/page14.htm



      • When Chaos 5.0 comes out, if the book is shall we say… more acceptable, I actually intend to build a non-chaos force, and build the models as being tainted. It’ll be Tau. 😛


      • That’s quite a few years without a chaos army. That’s why I was thinking that if you mixed a really fun army like orks with some of the chaos rules you’d end up with a fairly fun chaosy army to use until these rules are fixed.

        A friend of mine made a few Khornate Tau models and they looked pretty awesome, so good luck with your new army.


  43. As a casual gamer, all I can say is that CSM is the sole reason I got into 40K again.

    While the summoned Daemons could have been left out, I rather use Daemons from the Daemon Codex, the book is cool enough for me to enjoy even if it does not have the flexibility of say the new Space Marine Codex.

    To me, gaming is just one part of many in this hobby (painting, converting, collecting, reading fluff etc.).

    Good article!


  44. I’ve only used this edition of the chaos codex so i cannot compare it to the other.

    My only issues are point costs, particularly with chaos champions as you pay to access the armoury and get one extra attack – not worth 15 points for that.

    the codex feels like a generic codex from 2002. The ork codex came out 6 months later, and I guess that that codex would have been floating around with its ideas as taking other units in different FOC i.d deff dreads. The chaos codex needs a bit of spice to it, its over costed in areas and needs something new hip and cool to go with the ork and marine codex such as chaos lord with a bike allows bikers to be troops for instance. Special characters for each legion would have been nice, or upgrade a chaos lord for free to a legion leader which gives something new i.e iron warriors can take 2 heavy support units per slot for example. I just think that a codex which came out a year later (space marine) has different point values for the same models in the chaos codex and this codex no doubt would be in the design phase when the chaos codex was due to be released, or before.


  45. Nice article, enjoyable read, please fix that “mniniatures”, I’m a tad OCD and it’s driving me crazy. 😛


  46. Gav,

    Thank you for the insight, but as a long time Chaos player, I have to say that the current codex is dissapointing. For being the most diverse and evil force in the Galaxy that threatens to consume everything, the work in their book falls short of living up to that idea, while by contrast Codex Space Marines and Codex Imperial Guard offer ways to use an HQ choice to influence what an army does and how it mechanically works, the Chaos book just gives you a couple mark options and really only offers troops to single power followers. In the shadow of those codexes, your Chaos book seems shallow and restrictive. Worse, to even offer a good fight to ‘fluff’ Marine and Imp Guard lists, you can really only count on taking a limited selection of choices from the Chaos book. The fact that princes can take a mark, but no really gain the benefit that the troops do is strange and doesn’t fit the fluff. Example: my khorne berzerkers have furious charge and an extra attack, but my Khorne Prince (who has served the Blood god longer than the Berzerkers and has destroyed worlds in his name) just gets the extra attack … can you see what I mean?
    Using the ‘I encourage you to play outside the rules with Iron Warriors Basilisks’ sounds like a dodge to me because Salamanders don’t have to bend the rules to be good at using flamers, it is in the codex. I really hope that Games Workshop understands that with all the great fiction out there about the Heresy and about Chaos and Imperials fighting Chaos, they are doing themselves and their fans an injustice by not making the codex fit the fluff a little bit better than the current codex. Heck, I don’t even care if it means making the army less powerful, at least make it stand up to the great fiction authors like yourself put out.


  47. Thanks for the insight Gav, I do appreciate it.

    Generally I really do like the Chaos marine Codex. My only two complaints are the Possessed rolling for their skill after deployment, and the points cost of the basic Chaos marine.

    Fifteen points with no special rules is way too many. In fact when compared to the loyalist space marines the basic Chaos marine has been over costed forever. Sure this can be mitigated with an Icon, but the Icon can be shot off, and cost more points.

    In the upcoming Space Wolf codex, Grey Hunters come with the same equipment as the Chaos marine. Plus they have ATSKNF, Acute senses and Counter charge for same points as a Chaos marine.

    There is no way that a Chaos marine having a close combat weapon and one higher Leadership makes up for the basic loyalist marines 3 Special Rules, points wise. It’s a tragedy compared to the new Space Wolves.

    Again thanks for the insight into the design of the Chaos marine codex.



  48. Dear Gav

    Again a thanks for stepping forward – I wonder if you were taking so much flak that you thought its time to stick the head above the parapet? Actually makes me think of the scene in Young Guns 2 when they try and shoot their way out of a ruined building but big man points for doing so.

    I won’t talk about specific minutiae of content as HBMC did it so well.

    What I would say is

    1. Regarding codices being too rules legislative: Remember codex trumps rulebook. We are willingly entering a game where we agree to use a set of rules similar to chess – the randomness of outcomes provided by dice. As such we want these rules – if we didn’t want a rule environment we wouldn’t be playing a wargame as opposed to ludo. We don’t want to be dicing off a d6 every time somebody didn’t get round to putting a rule down for fear of being too proscriptive. We are not all 13 and incapable of understanding – I got into Rogue Trader at 11 in 1990 and managed to keep up. Having rules in a codex wouldn’t be a problem if the format didn’t make you jump back and forth:

    Mark of chaos found at start of forces of chaos. Blight grenades in forces of chaos. Rules for icons – under wargear. Hang on – an entry for sonic weapons -go to page 39! Daemon weapons – a 4 line entry saying jump forward to 93! Power fists – 8 lines sayign see main rulebook. And then the army list directing us to and from pages.

    2. Regarding Space Marines and IG fighting together. You’re right about that. Oh hang on – The IG were never an integral part of the Space Marines whereas patron specific daemons in CSM armies have been for 4 editions? And anyway in 2nd I remember army lists used to let you take 25% allies any way. So this arguement doesn’t bear up to me.

    3. Finally again keeping way from the actual content, I was not aware of a large amount of discontent with 4th Ed codex (previous – 3.5 if you wish). I am aware of a large amount of discontent with this. So If it was put to a vote – an amendment in double quick time with legion specifics and patronic daemons, or keep what is now available, or else just revert to the last codex, I’m sorry but I can’t see Ladbrokes giving long odds on this latest mutation surviving these three options as the most favoured – not if it is chaos players deciding.

    So again I resepct you coming up on this but care nothing for the design brief or anything else quite simply follow the military principle of never reinforce defeat, listen to what the majority say and lets look backwards next time – or else bring out Legion specific codices (possibly index astartes sylee or BA PDF/WD) to keep us away from this blandness.


  49. I think that the new chaos space marine codex is far better than the old one and does not deserve the slating that many have given it. i can know write a decent well structured 1500pt army list in around 10minutes where as the old one woul take me around 10 hours. i think toning down things such as daemonic gifts was the right move. i especially like the neww daemon weapons, psychic powers and special characters. however i was rather dissapointed with the daemon prince and think it lacked any real flare and so to by the lack of anything new with regards to units or maybe a chaos equivalant of artificer armour. so on the whole you did a good job and to anyone who moans endlessly about how bad the codex is you clearly have not got a clue about what you are talking about!!!


  50. Cheers for the insight Gav. As well worded as ever. I feel that some people are begining to miss the point of Wargaming Systems. Those of us that are old enough remember the days where all you got were a set of rules a little back ground and had to use your own imagination to fill in the rest should be reminding the newer generation just how lucky they are to have all this information at their disposal.

    Now gamers seem to expect everything laid out for them. Endless background and Fluff about all aspects of the universe they want to game in. “If it isn’t in the source books it doesn’t exist.” They no longer want to think for themselves.

    This has been exaggerated by the rise of the beardy tournament player. Now there’s a place for Beardy tournament players… at tournaments, where the enforced restrictions and RAW mentality runs rife. They do not belong at a Games night at a local store. (I was told by a certain person recently that i could not use my Wolf Lord as a Wolf Lord because he, “was not one of the 12 listed in the Codex.”)

    I too have a beardy streak,(No you’ve got a beardy face i hear you all cry, and yes i have) but i switch out of Beard mode when i’m not at a tournament. I like playing for fun… deliberately goading my opponents into a heroic show down of generals… laughing our bits off as that unit of grots compounds my legendary bad luck by wiping out my Wolf Guard with a single turns shooting… letting a opponent make that charge even if they did fall 1/3 of an inch short… generally not taking things to seriously.

    This extends to army selection and rules. This will shock everyone… but my gaming group makes up its own rules. For the fun of it. Be as crazy as you like with your Deamon Prince give him all the Chaotic Character traits you want, make up rules for them, justify them with a narrative and if everyone agrees to them fair game. If not find a set that your all happy with and play with them.

    The important thing is that everyone enjoys the game. The rules are just there to enable the game not to dominate it. Hell there are no rules for Traitor Guard forces but i’ve fought two in the last month. Daemons and Chaos Marines mixed into the ranks of the chaos Guard, and two of the best ‘narrative’ lists i’ve seen in ages blending and building on background stories listed in both the Codex Chaos Marines and the Chaos Daemons Codex. These types of forces are spoken about in the backgrounds but there are no offical rules for them. Ok so the armies weren’t tornament legal, but they were bloody great armys and great games.(both draws by the way, i just couldn’t kill enough of Traitor Guard.)

    My point. The Codex is but a starting point. It is there to spark your imagination not to stifle it. Use it, abuse it if you must, but please don’t take them as the last word on a particular army.


  51. I fully agree with HBMC.

    Gav, i think you have done a good thing by posting this. You certainly have my respect for it, even if i still do not like your book. I understand that there are many other factors present.

    I appreciate the idea of giving more options with this current codex, but i think if you do a comparison you will find this one has much less options. That is because, other than ancient enemies, the restrictions of the previous codex were all in the variant legion lists which were optional in the first place. The loss of the massive customization that daemonic gifts granted is also huge. Why are Aspiring champions exactly the same as sergeants? This does not make sense from either the fluff or gaming perspective.

    So in this current codex we have gained the ability to take noise marines and berzerkers in the same army. But we have lost all unit customization due to no more armory or daemonic gifts, we have lost almost all vehicle customization, we have lost psychic power variety, we have lost proper daemon weapons, and we have lost the ability to make cult legion lists.

    The previous codex was often accused of being too powerful. It was true that it allowed 4-5 builds powerful enough to be tournament competitive. The new codex allows 1, maybe 2. And lash/pms/zerks/oblits is more powerful than the previous codex’s lists. So we have not only lost options from a fluff perspective, we have even lost them when it comes to actual game play. It used to be when you faced a chaos player at a tournament you wouldn’t know which of the ~5 lists he’d have. Now we know exactly what they will have, every time.


  52. When the latest CSM codex was released I loathed it. After all I’d just finished painting a gorgeous 2000pt Emperor’s Children army which was legal under the 3.5 edition rules. There is something distinctly unsatisfying about having to treat large chunks of your army as “count as” after all that effort (such as all the blastmasters on havocs and dreadnoughts now being “autocannons” or the sonic blasters on terminators now being “combi-bolters”). It is particularly frustrating when it is a mix and match approach across the whole army (“that one is actually a proper blastmaster, but not that one over there; that’s an autocannon” – this is simplification?).

    One of the links above seems to have a similar issue, although he has adapted his army somewhat to mitigate this http://www.dakkadakka.com/wiki/en/Ian%27s_Slaaneshi_Chaos_Marines
    That said, to quote: “I’m in the process of reconverting all sonic weaponry off my vehicles”.
    Personally there is nothing I detest more than having to cut up miniatures that I’ve spent hours painting. A rulebook should not have the same result as the designer wandering up to your gaming table, picking up some of your favourite models and dropping them on the floor. Repair jobs are not fun!

    I persevered with Chaos and started a new force with all the shiny new kits that had been released (still in a bitter mindset I chose the Black Legion on the principle that they were less likely to be made redundant by a future update – plus they were much quicker to paint). The ease of adding new units and creating new lists with this codex grew on me and I started to see the list in a better light. It does a reasonably fair and balanced job of representing a generic chaos space marine force and with a few more options would be a very good codex indeed.

    The lack of any legion flavour however is still disappointing and in my opinion the simplifying of wargear options went a step too far.

    I particularly miss the veteran skills which helped me relate to the fact that some of my marines had been fighting since the heresy. This omission is now emphasized by the relative strengths of the new loyalist marines and characters who rather make you wonder what advantage the traitors have gained by turning to the Chaos Gods. They still have the millennia old weaponry, but no longer seem to have the experience to go with it.

    In my opinion the main reason Codex Chaos Space Marines has so many critics is because it was a trial of a new format and hence players required time to adjust to it. However once this period had passed, GW decided to take yet another change of direction in codex writing (surprise!) for the latest codex releases leaving us feeling hard done by yet again, just when we had adapted to the changes.

    Hopefully when it is time for the next incarnation of the codex we will hit the “right” point in the ever-changing-whimsical-theories-of-the-design-studio cycle. At least we can pray to Tzeentch…


  53. The design philosophy does not excuse the sloppy execution of the book. Design preference with regard to more rules vs. less rules is a subjective decision.

    However, in both cases, good rules are essential.

    Lash, the spawn, and the possessed are all simply cases of poor rules regardless of design paradigm (which is usually indicative of poor playtesting and editing).

    That is my issue with the book.


  54. Gav,

    Thank you for posting this reply and justification for the decisions made when designing Codex: CSM. You’ve gotten a lot of flak for putting this up, and I’m probably not wrong in saying that you’re likely to get some more!

    Anyway, onto the topic of the Codex. I like it. It’s a nice, balanced Codex in the current edition that takes its strengths from a diverse and varied core of troops, backed up by some of the more hallmark ‘Chaos’ options such as Obliterators, Daemon Princes and Defilers.

    People will often scream that the Codex is declining in power compared to other newer Codices which have been released such as the Codex: Space Marines, and there may be some truth in that. But frankly, this is the nature of changing editions and new rules sets. Without Games Workshop’s Designers going out there and taking the risk of putting a new style of army on to the table, we’d all still be playing the very first rules set developed for 40k.

    I think the main issue that people have with this Codex is that it has shifted the balance of power within the list. Previously, the Legions were king. The Legions presented such a strong list to play with, the Chaos Codex was widely regarded as one of the best around, and a player would be pretty foolhardy not to play as one of the fallen Legions. Now that the focus of the Codex has shifted to warbands, we begin to see some diversity in the lists; people starting to use more troops choices than pure Khorne Berserkers, and moving away from the very tight restrictions of a single Legion.

    Yes, people say there are only 3 or 4 ‘cookie-cutter’ builds out there for Chaos to be truly effective, but I don’t think that’s an issue with the Codex, it’s an issue with the mindset of the ’40k-gamer-with-internet-access’. If you pop on to virtually any forum relating to 40k now, they invariably have a sub-forum dedicated to army lists, where people are supposed to bounce ideas off each other in order to generate new and interesting ways to play. The problem arises in supposed ‘veterans’ telling newer and more naive players that “The only way to win with Chaos is dual-Lash Princes, 9 Obliterators and Plague Marines”, it gets worse when people believe it.

    40k internet communities promulgate the opinion that only certain builds will work in the tabletop setting, and assume that every game of Warhammer ever to be played is strictly competitive with a win at all costs attitude. This just isn’t the case! The new Chaos Codex opened up a wealth of new options for players to experiment with – Finding your Khorne Warband is missing out on some ranged firepower? Stick some Thousand Sons in!

    Whilst opening up these new options, the chance to play a Legion list is still there, the ‘Big Four’ Legions are represented through the Cult Troops, and whilst they may play differently to the last Codex, they’re most certainly viable.

    So in summary, I’m of the opinion that the newer Codex: CSM has been a positive step, it’s cleared out all of the additional rules and technicalities that made the old Chaos Space Marines Codex the filthy powerhouse that it was, and has created a blank slate for people to build their armies off of. Almost any Chaos Space Marines army is able to be built from the current Codex. People need to face up to the fact that change is good, if Games Workshop had left all of the Legion Lists, Daemonic Gifts and FOC changing options that were in the old Codex where they were, what would have been the point in printing a new Codex? Without the new Codex, we wouldn’t have new models like the Terminators, we’d be stuck as we were forever, a stagnant book that people would quickly tire of. The new book attempts to dispel the strict mindset that the only Chaos army is a pure Legion army, and presents new and interesting options to the Chaos player, as well as opening up a wealth of modeling projects.

    Sure, there are things I’d like to change, but isn’t that true of every army out there?

    As it stands, I like the Codex, and I’d like to thank Gav for taking the time to explain the reasoning behind the decisions made. I’d also like to voice my disappointment at those who have made personal attacks on the writers and developers who worked on Codex: CSM. These kind of attacks are unacceptable, and reflect poorly on the entire community.


  55. I used to play 3 different CSM armies prior to the release of the new codex:

    1. Iron Warriors
    2. Tzeentch Coven
    3. Alpha Legion

    From the moment the new codex was released all 3 armies became redundant.

    My Iron Warriors army had 4 “basilsks” (think hellcannon but longer and skinnier) which each took a month to scratch build, and a giant deamon prince with a kai gun and black-blade which had parts from a sm dreadnought, bloodthirster and god knows how many other kits. Now the only way I can use the basilsks is in apocalypse, and I can’t use the daemon prince at all.

    My Tzeentch Coven contained a squad of 20 chosen sorcerers, a sorcerer lord and 2 squads of horrors. 2000pts. Great fun army to use, awsome fluff, no longer usable.

    As for my Alpha Warriors, well they had around 70 cultists. Enough said

    Thanks to the new codex all of these armies which iI had spent countless dollars and hours on became useless. I have since sold all three armies (at a substantial loss) and now play orks.


  56. Hello!
    Firstly let me say a big thank you to you Gav for adding to my hobby over many many years i really apreciate it.
    The first thing i want to say is this. When i manage to play 40k i find myself with people that are 99% of the time a delight to be around (you always get one that doesnt like losing) and yet i find in threads like this one so many of us behave in a way that is, frankly rude. why is that? People please, look at what you are writing, remember that people at GW dont sit down and say to themselves “how can we really piss (insert name here) off?” IF you have a problem, explain what it is and why you dont like it. there is no need for the ” this is stupid your stupid” stuff. none. Even if (worst case senario) GW are a bunch of incompetant twits….that still doesnt mean we should be rude to them. Complain all you want, but make it constuctive and polite.

    as for the new dex. overal i like it.
    there are few things i dont like though….

    the HQ choices of chaos do not compare to marines. no matter what i do a HQ of marines will rip apart my own with power weapons, invulnerable saves, wargear from hell etc etc.
    the Choas lord is not nearly hard enough for what is meant to be an ancient warrior with thousands of years worth of killing under his belt and i think that is because of the “special characters (SC)”. what seems to have happened is the SC have taken the role of the “major hero” and the basic Chaos lord is now the “minor hero”. But I for one don’t want to use typhus (or a counts as) in my nurgle army….i mean he isnt going to turn up to fight in every, skirmish is he?
    If i have one major complaint about the hobby its GW over use of the Named Special Character…every game now has a named hero in it….its not right and if they are ever used it would only ever be in a game of apoc…but again thats just MY view so I dont use them. other players do and enjoy doing it…so good luck to them! 🙂

    lots of people have already mentioned EVERY possible complaint about the codex, but i have to say when i ask my oponent “do you mind if i have 7 termies in my raiders ‘cos i play nurgle and all my sqds are 7” they say sure, as long as i have paid for them all. i have never played someone that said no, because no one has.

    you can be fluffy if you want to be with this codex but i confess i would like to see a couple of god specific codex books…..but thats not Gav’s fault.

    Finally, i would again like to thank Gav….for his efforts, work, creativity and patience. It really does improve my life 🙂



  57. Mr Thorpe,

    I have been a strong critic of yours ever since the release of the current CSM codex, for the reasons that my fellows chaos players have already aptly expressed, The Ice cream metaphor being one that particularly sticks in my mind.

    Unfortunately as mentioned your explanation fell considerably short of the actual problems with the book… issues which are so obvious to the avid chaos player at first glance, It boggles the mind how these things were not identified pre-release by those who make a living from creating such pieces… and to think that removing the ‘chaosness’ from the book was all part of the plan boggles even further. I must have been away the day that chaos players were crying out for a boring, uninspiring renegade codex.

    .. And when exactly did you realize that the Daemon Prince was a bit bland? when you first revised him? play tested him? ok him? proof read him? saw it in print? when? when?….. the mind boggles!


  58. Hey Gav, have to totally agree with what you’ve said. I’m a devote chaos player, and have every chaos minature available (including classics) and am sick of hearing the bagging of the codex. I’m always happy to have a new codex to use, and change things up a little.

    There are a lot of comments that the CSM aren’t as efficient without the books of the gods and the vast amount of upgrades, but i totally disagree. I believe the standard CSM is the best troop choice in the game and constantly stock my army with it. Besides, if they want these god specific armies, they can just take heaps of bezerkers and a Khorne lord. Plus, the daemon codex being separate now, is great!! I have more then one 40K army now, and i do hope the studio is still working on the god specific armies. As new codices and (hopefully!) new characters of chaos will truly be a blessing from the dark Gods!

    However, i do have one problem with the codex and that is the lack of options for the Daemon Prince. I miss being able to make a prince that has stats or abilities in a combination that one else has. I think this always showed your opponent that you could never expect the same thing from the anarchy of chaos.

    But, all in all, your critics need to shut up and enjoy the game and stop blaming their failures on you! They obviously just don’t have the blessings of the Gods…. =P


    • Sorry, but the failures fall squarely on Gav’s shoulders. He ultimately wrote the book which has flaws on practically every page, many of which have been already spoken off.


  59. hmm, interesting read. i agree with some parts and disagree with others however i wont go into them. one of the biggest issues i continuously hear from friends and others i play with/against about ANY codex is where and how it seperates from the fluff no matter how much we hear that the writers are taking a more “fluffy and fun” play style into account.

    i highly agree with everyone who commented that a human editor and outside playtesters are greatly needed. the playtesters part would be so easy and cheap for gw to do that its not even funny. i know i for one would glady be a playtester for free. anything i could do to help make the hobby i enjoy so much better would be fun and worthwhile for me to do.
    and i know for a fact that many many of my friends would have the same opinion on this too. we’ve discussed it.

    as for the editor part it is more from a professionalism stand point on that for me. if you let something go to print with many blatant errors they it shows that you dont care about what your printing. thats my personal feeling and nothing against anyone in particular.

    in closing i’d like to say that i dont hate anyone in particular in gw who works on any of the codexes or rulebooks. however i’ve found that some of the staff have made statements about thier concepts of where the game that offend me. i’m not the best gammer but i am a vet. i enjoy armies that i have to think about on how to make a fun list or a competitive one. its way too late in the game to be saying that warhammer fantasy or 40k is not a competitive game. it has been and always will be. this does not mean it cant be fun. but youre trying to beat your opponent. thats competition plus gw has been sponsoring tournements for thier games for too many years to backtrack like this and expect hobbyist to just accept it without problems.


  60. Look, the bottom line is, the codex was NOT in line with what the majority of customers wanted. That was blatantly obvious from every online forum where it was bashed. You took the flavor from Chaos, and made them random pointless warbands of warriors rather than legions of evil space marines. I can understand not allowing cultists in the force, the same as not allowing guard with marines etc. Not allowing god specific daemons was a HUGE blunder in my opinion. Chaos is all about the gods, and you pretty much took that away from us. It was also once said long ago in a WD article or some such that an all daemon army was decided AGAINST because rarely would such a force ever be on the field in 40k. It is this kind of flip flop that is driving more customers away from games workshop. Due to this latest abortion of a codex, me and at least 11 other gamers I know have shelved our flavorless chaos armies in favor of armies that have more substance. Instead of getting defensive about being “attacked,” perhaps it is time for you and GW to admit that you made a mistake and go on with life?


  61. Hi Gav,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts regarding Codex: CSM. I have to confess I am one of those who does not like it because it pretty much did away with the two Chaos armies I play (Thousand Sons and Alpha Legion) without *having* to use the counts-as mechanism, something I am loathe to do simply because no matter how you look at it, my old cultist models (which are way cool) are not deamons, they don’t look like daemons, and in the background they never were daemons. That is something that’s important to me, i.e. a model should represent in the rules what it actually is on the tabletop. That’s why I have always despised the “counts as” idea as a cop-out.

    Also, I never saw the need for a book that focused on Renegades in the first place. After all, Renegades are just that, Renegade “Space Marines.” They aren’t that far gone from when they were loyalists that they would have totally forgotten the training they had, the weapons they used, or the structure of their organizations. In that regard and in my opinion the Space Marine codex was far more suited to their representation than the current book.

    To me Chaos has always been about the Legions. The epic 10,000 year struggle against their brothers just seems more grand, more inspiring, more everything than the idea of little bands of a few chaos worshippers wandering the galaxy fighting for no real purpose. Renegades simply cannot compete with that overarching storyline. I understand trying to do all of them in the one book was too limiting due to space, but to be honest I don’t think the new book does any of them justice. Just my opinion though. I do applaud the idea that the individual legions should have their own codex to represent the options unique to them. I would say the same of the Eldar craftworlds, Tau Septs, Ork Klans, etc. Regardless, by the time they get around to doing any of the above, Chaos or otherwise it will be *years* and I have to confess I don’t know if I will wait that long. Having armies sit on the shelf for years at a time is disheartening.

    Anyway, I do agree with some of your reasoning as to why you made the choices you did. I just wish GW believed in an errata policy to fix such things rather than having to wait years before it could potentially be fixed. I have never liked that methodology and never will :-).


    • As a follow-on to my post, I have to say I agree with HBMC above on almost every point. It really does seem like the “chaos” in the new book is no more. This is particularly evident in the loss of daemonic gifts. IMO that was the one thing in the old book that showed chaos for what it really is, the random mutations, warped powers, etc. Losing those alone did more to diminish the flavor of Chaos than any other change I think. If they were dropped because some were never used, then that would tell me not that the idea was bad, but that the implementation needed more work. Again though, that’s just my opinion.


  62. Gav,

    I’ll say what nobody else seems to have touched on. The Codexes follow whatever the current GW paradigm is, regardless of author. It’s obvious CSM, DA, and the BA-minidex all followed the ‘Jervis’ path; that’s not my opinion, that’s fact – he took the credit (or the blame, depending on your pov) for it in WD!

    I’ve nothing against Jervis, though I’ve always been an ‘Andy Chambers outlook’ kinda guy, but I’m glad the trend got bucked somewhere in there. We didn’t want dumbed-down options.

    Gav did a fine job. While some of the options mystify me, overall I’ve seen more and varied armies after the codex than prior. I think the primary reason the griping has continued after all this time is that, 1) prior to the recent version, the Codex armybooks have always been grossly overpowered and 2) the hard-core fans of Chaos have always been the most loyal and vocal.

    I’ll keep it succinct, which is actually unusual for me.

    Take care all – Brent


  63. Great, could you defend the Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts now? Some of us players have been wondering…


  64. While I can agree that the current Chaos codex is a great codex if you’re playing just a pick-up game, just throwing together a list of whatever, or if you want a tournament list, it does unfortunately fall down in representing fluffy lists.

    An example is my Night Lord list. By fluff, the Night Lords don’t use Chaos. No marks, no daemons, etc, and they prefer terror tactics. This limited me in 3.5. I couldn’t use any of the big shiny Cult troops others got to use, instead I had to make do with my Daemonic Visage to represent Night Lords, and make use of my free Night Vision. Sure, it was restrictive, but I loved it though. It perfectly captured the Night Lords.
    Now, to use the 4th Ed codex, I lost all the things that made my Night Lords what they were. My list got reduced to a bare-bones imitation of what it was previously. Sure, I COULD use Cult units, or Obliterators, or Defilers to bring some power and variation back into the list, but it feels wrong. Night Lords don’t use those things. I COULD use Icons as ‘counts-as’ Veteran Skills, but why does a unit forget how to assault as well when some guy randomly holding a stick dies? It just doesn’t feel right.
    What I find particularly saddening is that if the rumours are true, the new Space Wolf codex will be a better fit for my Night Lords than the Chaos Space Marine codex. I get my Night Vision back, I get the “hardened veteran” feel back, I get drop-pods (something very fitting for Night Lords), and I get ATSKNF to represent our undying hatred of the cursed Imperials.

    What needs to be remembered is that Chaos IS restrictive. The Chaos Gods are incredibly jealous things. Khorne isn’t going to be happy if his favoured Warlord goes around heavily recruiting other Cults into his army! Khorne is stronger than those weaklings! To show his disfavour, instant spawndom for the Warlord.
    People complaining about the strictness of the old Legion rules often forget that nothing forced you to use them. Contrary to what many people seem to say, I’ve pored overmy 3.5 codex, and have yet to find the paragraph stating “If your army is painted in X scheme, it must use Y rules.” You don’t like that Death Guard can’t have Havocs? One, its part of their fluff. Two, if it bothers you so much, use the standard list, and grab some heavy weapons.

    I’ll disagree with the above “ice cream” example, but only slightly. What this codex did instead is change a slightly limited amount of highly versatile units for a slightly larger amount of non-versatile units (or at least as versatile as they were before).

    Cult Legions can finally have their marked anything (not that they couldn’t use the standard list before), but those Marks don’t give the same benefits they did before. The Cult Terminators, Chosen of the Gods, highly favoured beings, are somehow less favoured by their God that that new-comer in power armour over there. Hell, the LORD is less favoured than the basic Cult Troops.

    We then have the standard list, which gained practically nothing in variation, only being able to give marks to all units equally. Instead, they gave up the depth of character mentioned above.

    Lastly, we have the Undivided (non-Cult) Legions, namely the Iron Warriors, Alpha Legion, and Night Lords. Word Bearers weren’t hit so badly. What these lists gained was access to things they didn’t want to take, if they stayed true to fluff. I’ll say it again to all those misinformed people who try to use a particular argument against me. Raptors do not a Night Lords list make. Terror tactics do. Chosen do not an Alpha Legion list make, and so on.
    These Legions, instead of really gaining anything new, are now forced to use the limited version of the old standard list.

    Daemon Princes, beings that previously were almost unlimited in their possible forms in the original Realms of Chaos, are now limited in choice to choosing a Mark, choosing a psychic power, and choosing to have wings. The giant monstrosity that Khorne blessed with a Bloodthirsters head, eagle wings and the legs of a dog is now identical to the seemingly frail Slaaneshi Daemon Prince, whose face is a twisted image of “perfection”, with goat horns, and talons for gently caressing the enemies of Slaanesh are now identical other than the Marks they have, and the Khorne one has wings.
    Daemon Princes are the one unit that should never be limited. These are creatures whose form and abilities are determined by the passing whim of their patron God at the time of their “birth”. They shouldn’t be pigeon-holed into “can fly” and “can’t fly”. I don’t believe that the Daemon Prince with the blade bigger than you are is as dangerous in close combat as the Nurgle Prince who finds it hard to move around his diseased bulk, relying on his Nurglings to attack for him.

    The same is true for Chaos Lords. When the codex was first released, I didn’t really like the removal of daemonic gifts, but they had the essential upgrades available. Then the Loyalist codex came out, and Captains not only had their stats upgraded to equal the “superior” Chaos Lord, but they had so many optional upgrades that gave them so much variation it wasn’t funny. Particularly ironic was the auxilliary grenade launcher, as if their bolter (a rapid-firing rpg) wasn’t enough grenade-y death. This felt like a smack in the face for us who lost our Gifts of the Gods and Daemonic Gifts. They could get Digital Weapons, but simple artificer armour was too much for us?

    What I will credit this codex on is opening up the Tzeentch units to be things other than the Thousand Sons. True, they are the Cult Unit, but they’re a highly unusual Cult Unit that doesn’t represent the Cult of Tzeentch as a whole.

    Lastly, I will readily admit that much of these complaints come from hindsight, from where the design strategy of the codexes was changed after the Chaos Marine codex was released. I do not blame Gav in any way for the stream-lining that our Codex received, it was the plan at the time. He couldn’t go against it, and every codex was to receive the same treatment. For what you did in that design strategy, you have my applause. You pulled off a heavily streamlined version of Chaos.

    What my complaints come from is simple bitterness that the design strategy was changed to almost the complete opposite. Before, I could rest assured that every codex would be streamlined as we were. Then the Loyalist codex came out, and I was left thinking of what could have been if our Codex was released under this new strategy.
    My one hope is that a Legions codex is not too far in the distant future, and it is simply being held back until after the much more deserving Dark Eldar. Until then, it seems I’ll be using the Space Wolves for my Night Lords.


    • I’ll also say that the other thing I’m grateful for in this codex is the chance to have Cult troops in other Cult armies. This might seem unfluffy, but think about it as ‘counts as’. Are you trying to tell me that every single Nurgle plague makes the host bloated and slow? That every Slaaneshi is addicted to noise and only noise? That every Tzeentch worshipper joins the Thousand Sons? You get the point.
      I feel this could have been reinforced a bit more by including something like this in the unit descriptions, like how they explained why the Black Legion can use them all. Something along the lines of “Nurgle versions of Berzerkers can be thought of instead as Marines infected with a hallucinatory disease that drives them into raging frenzies, hacking out at everything they see through rheugm-encrusted eyes.”


      • Yes, we are telling you. It’s very hard to talk about this subject, if you want faster units, you shouldn’t be taking those cult choices and should be using Icons, but Icons are wasting points that can be used for better guns.

        I understand being forced to try to create something different, but if you have a mark on a unit, it means it’s part of that god, there is nothing short of the best Chaos Champions who are going to make the warriors of the gods stay stable around each other to be allies. We’re not happy because it’s been established for over 2 decades that Chaos gods=immortal enemies and their champions follow suit. I understand you want to pretend that those units are just having those marks to be better than vanilla Chaos, but those marks mean they ARE part of their gods Patronage, they ARE linked to fluff that should be not letting them be allies, unless you are true Black Legion, or specifically said Abbadon, or specific Champions who have the will, drive, and power to unite Chaos.

        Not only that but tactically, mixing up units is very bad, you’re better off using one type or one type with normal Icons as backup with heavy weapons.


  65. Hi Gav,

    What you said are true. Why attack the creator to degrade his reputation. Personally I really disrespect ppl who done it. From my opinion, the only thing I’m unhappy with CSM codex is that they are not all “fearless”. They are veteran of millions campaigns. I agreed that you took out the legion rules from the codex coz they should a stand alone codex of its own. Well, I love your works very much from WHF to 40K to novel since 1995. Keep up the gr8 work!!


  66. I will add my weight to those against the current Chaos Space Marines codex. I did not play competetively using the 3.5 dex, but I had a lot of fun making army lists. Under the 4.0 dex, I have joined the ‘artificial environment’ of tournaments.

    This is the one good thing about 4.0-I have been able to enhance my enjoyment of the hobby by playing more competetively.

    The way in which 4.0 went about this was, however, flawed. As soon as I cracked the ‘dex, I was dismayed. My Chaos Lord couldn’t have all his daemonic upgrades anymore. My beloved possessed (I ran about 15) were…useless. My defiler couldn’t have parasitic possession anymore. Neither could my predator. My super sorceror was…weak.

    I wasn’t great at 40K, but I could instantly tell which units were good and which were bad.

    As soon as I used a daemon prince, I never took my Chaos Lord or Sorceror off of the shelf again.

    My defiler gathered dust.

    My predator never got painted.

    Why was this? I was winning using certain units and losing when I used others. “WAAC!” some will scream. No, I just liked to win-everyone does (don’t even try to say that you enjoy losing).

    4.0 took all the variety and experimentation out of my army lists, save that which one-tracked it to effectiveness.

    As opposed to the opportunity to (looking back) try out several ways to effectiveness, there was a straight path.

    4.0 took GW’s ‘ideal gamer’-someone who played to write a story with their battles-and turned them into the most min/maxing, competetive, ‘beardy’, player possible. This isn’t a lament for lost innocence-I’m happy. Instead, it just shows what happened to the play-for-fun kid who picked up a one-track codex.


  67. Yep, I’d like to echo a lot of what has been said here, though I’d like to make it clear that I do not in any way blame Gav himself for what the current Chaos Marine book has turned out to be. I can’t help but wonder how many of the decisions made were forced upon the design team by the simple fact that new models need to be sold, even to gamers with existing armies.

    Let’s just hope that the Traitor Legions are revisited sometime this edition and are done justice. It pains me to see the current state of some armies like the Night Lords, Alpha Legion and Word Bearers.


  68. i can see your point about the large amount of rules in the previous codex, and the current codex has made the chaos mariens a lot more CQB orientated (i like this because it shows they are not just “spikey space marines”) the only problem i found is that the army often lacks some of those special skills you need in a pinch, such as tank hunters or counter attack
    over all the codex runs well but it isnt as fun to play now that 5th ed rules are about, also the 5th edition codexes are moving down a much more exiting and more flexible path in regards to the amount of units in the book ant the special rules that help define the army (doing a great job so far guys), because of this many of the old eddition codexs are getting left behind (especialy dark eldar seeing as no one run away from their scare tactics anymore).

    on a side note regarding the fifth ed books it seems that the background and rules writers are working a lot closer than in the past, as much of the background fluff is actually represented in rules (such as combat tactics or the orders system) this was missing from a lot of the older codexes and now they are feeling the pain, but who knows as time goes on we may find out that 4th ed chaos is better thatn any of the new codexes (or all of their fancy new tanks)


    • another note i forgot to mention, would it have been possible when writing the CSM book to add in a lot of the lost and the damned elemnts eg traitor gaurd ect, of course you dont want to detract from the marines, i just like the idea of hordes of cultists charging in as the CSMS reap their bloody toll in close combat


  69. I just read the Signing News comments and I thought I would respond here since this appears the best place for it. Sorry for three separate posts though.

    You say you felt like the new book freed up players from having to pay 5pts for spiky bits or what not and now they are free to model however they want. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is what your streamlined revision did at all. Instead of having options to choose from, now the only thing that differentiates one chaos force from another is the paint scheme. My apologies if I want something more from my army than that. I happen to be a player who *likes* options to choose from. I *like* having my army be slightly different than the norm. I *like* my models that look different to play slightly different from other armies. And I *like* that other armies would not have the same choices I have. It has nothing to do with the notion that only designers can come up with options and idea. It has everything to do with making each army choice a little different from someone else’s.

    What we have now certainly frees up Black Legion players to choose whatever they want all willy-nilly, but with one fell swoop you took away 25 years of chaos background by allowing the chaos powers to co-mingle and now anyone who actually liked any of that old background material is left high and dry because the new idea is that chaos is nothing but renegades. They have no animosities with each other, they could care less about the last few thousand years of internal strife, etc. No offense, but I find that simply unappealing on every level.

    I think you made an extremely effective codex with the new book. But in doing so you eviscerated almost all of the character in the army that I have liked over the years. Everything I enjoyed about Chaos is now gone. If all I cared about was playing a tournament game where the rules were simple, straightforward and nothing else mattered this book would be perfect. However, I expect more from a GW product because part of the attraction of this whole hobby is how each book, each army, each unit interacts and functions within the years of background written for the 40K universe. With the new chaos book all that was thrown out like the baby with the bathwater. While I loved what you did with the new Dark Elves for Warhammer Fantasy, I have to confess in *my* opinion the current Chaos Space Marine Codex is just blah.

    Finally (and I promise this will be my last post on the topic), I know you wanted to make it easier for opposing players by introducing the idea of icons instead of marked units. However, in addition to losing daemonic gifts, this choice served to turn what were once vile plague marines into nothing but marines who smell a little funny while carrying a pair of dirty underwear on a stick.

    I apologize I have had nothing but negative to say about C:CSM. However, you did post your reasons as to why you made the choices you did and thus I felt obliged to provide you with the reasons I feel the way I do about the same issues.


  70. Thank you very much, this is just the sort of frank discussion that wish we would here from all codex developers (a little while after release obviously). Although i question a few elements of what you said, thank you for taking the time to do so; it really does help to create an ethos encompassing ‘our’ hobby, not ‘your’ hobby that we play.

    This is actually one of my main ‘bug-bears’ with GW in general, the way in which they operate as a business when concerned with interaction with ‘Stake-holders’ in the wider sense is not one that includes the customer in any real way. For me they are missing a trick here, and they are assuming that the dynamic between GW and the customer is too close to the ‘standard’ (if one can truly say that) idea. I mean i wonder how popular forums discussing what potential new products at Sainsbury’s are….

    In summary, thanks for actually explaining some of these things. I wish others would to, though i suspect that GW enforces their silence and/or heavily screens what they say or write about the products that they have helped design.

    Kind Regards,


  71. Whenever a printed game material is released it is going to be criticsized, and rightly so. This isn’t a new game or new community, or new customer base. 40k is a very cynical community which is concerned with rulesets as much as model building. Whenever a new codex is released it is taken apart word for word by the community and displayed for everyone to see. There are too many ruleset errors that need errata and FAQs within a few months of release. This isn’t a child’s game, and the longtime, dedicated following of 40k aren’t children. The attitude of “it’s just a game, don’t dig too deep into it” sounds like the rules are bound to be fast and loose and we as players have to just live with that.

    You can’t please everyone, that’s true. Codex: CSM from 3.5 was a terrible position to move away from and whoever had the sad task of rewritting it was bound to be a target of resentment.


  72. Hello gav first I would like to thank you for this opportunity to offer my opinion on the current codex: CSM.

    My own personal issues with the book are:

    1. On the table I feel that a chaos army is as good if not better than it has ever been, its competitive and hard hitting. does well in tournaments and will always have a following.
    The cost however I feel has been too high.
    There is no longer anything “chaos” about them, and the book should have been named codex: Big Bad Men.

    2. The pitiful list of options availble to the millenia old HQ’s. Just wondered at which point in the thinking process that seemed like a good idea?

    3. The lack of any legion specific lists.
    You have touched on this already so I wont go into any more detail. Fingers crossed we shall be seeing such books in the not too distant future.

    4. The ill tempered sea bass. Sorry I mean generic summoned daemons. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bh7bYNAHXxw
    I know you mentioned these earlier but I cant help thinking your logic is flawed. Why were they included at all then? Sticking them on the back page of the army list and filling up the rest of that page with a story just reeked of lack of interest.

    As I stated earlier these are issues I have with the codex not with you personally.
    I think it is out of order for anyone to make a personal attack against an individual who in reality was only a link in a chain.
    I find it hard to believe that at any time you were given carte blanche to write a codex take it to be printed and then release it for sale.
    More likely you will have been given a brief, had many dealines, had to produce proofs, and basically anything GW did not want printed or ok’d for printing would not have been printed.
    So there are several others who should be accepting their fair share of this post.

    Lastly let me wish you every success on your impending novel which I’ll no doubt be buying, I cant seem to walk past the black library stand these days without picking up anything new.
    And once again thank you.


  73. Hi Mr.Thorpe,

    i applaud you for writing this piece, but i feel you are going to get too many warped and nasty comments headed your way, which is regrettable. don’t feel bad! some of us like the new chaos codex.
    I am a tau player first and foremost, and am growing my fangs for the new Space Wolves codex. So no chaos codex. that said, i have played against it often enough.

    I have no sympathy for the people bemoaning it. Harsh? Yup. Cruel? Yup. Cue diabolical laughter? yup. I rmemeber the abomination that was the previous codex. people seem to be looking at it with rose tinted glasses. they cry out about options, and character, and i say “bull to that”. I remember the previous codex, with alpha legion paying dirt cheap points costs for infiltrate, even though it was supposed to cost much more “cos they did it all the time”. rubbish. I remember chaos lists that got all blase and cookie cutter. every alpha legion army sneaked. all khorne armies ran across the baord. etc etc. but most of all is the cheese. remember the abomination of 9 obliterators, defiler, lots of havoks AND daemon princes of doom? remember nike lords (infiltrate/speed) remember siren princes that could not be shot? this was not “character”. it was a “win” button, and thats what most people want back, and dont think for a moment its anything else.
    Im glad its gone. I really am. Im glad i can take a chaos lord, and through his ruthlessness, charisma and brutality bring together a diverse force, beat them around the head and force them to follow him. its more chaotic now. Im glad i have options.
    face it guys the legions are dead. the cult ones fell apart. the others have lost their cohesion. only warbands brought together by charismatic leaders remain. as it should be.

    gav, i will say this. there are problems with the list. possessed and lash come to mind. But hey, that can be said about everything. look at my beloved tau. over half the list is worthless and the SCs are the worst designed ever. chaos players have nothing to complain about. there is no point holding a grudge.

    I think based on what was there previously, you guys had to rein it in and whack it a few times with the nerf bat. kudos. Maybe in the future there will be other releases to fill the gaps. if there is, i will be looking forward to it. in the meantime i have a life to lead, and stuff to do.


    • most of the legions are still together as they still have their primarch so that doesn’t make any sense. The only ones that arn’t are night lords, alpha legion (as they always were thanks to their crafty primarch to work in cells), world eaters (from the new codex anyway thanks to kharn), aaand I think death guard or emperors children?


  74. MY main problem is CS marines with
    Bolters, CCWs and Bolt pistols. Players act like its a modified type of Counterattack. Shoot bolter then charge with pistols,etc. Its very untied and needs clarification.


  75. Thanks for your thought Gav. An interesting read.

    I am not a Chaos player but a marine player since Rogue Trader days.

    Best mate has used Alpha Legion for years and here in dwells our only critiscism. Its not especially this codex as this problem has happened in other parts of our hobby too. He has spent around £800 on minitures plus time and paint to create an Alpha Legion list on 4thED, made all the fluff and designed teh army to fight exactly as Alpha Legion do. They are now redundant. He nearly quit the hobby over it. Of course he could adapt and change them to fit the new book but they wouldn’t be Alpha Legion.

    With GW always trying to be secret about what its upto, the stupidity (imho) of getting rid of the Legions and then not putting a statement out formally saying that a codex is in the offing is bad buisness. I had never played a chaos player who didn’t go down the route of a Legion and now I just don’t see any Chaos palyers. In my wider gaming circle there must be 30+ players, all vets.


  76. I think that the key word of the whole article is “responsibility”. It is the game game designers who are responsible for the rules quality in my opinion, because we pay for the rules, not the rules proposal. It is not fair to make players responsible for the rules. And you don’t have to say that we can make changes to the rules, because we know we can. You are unable to give us freedom which is already ours.


  77. Mr. Thorpe am not sure If you know , but the reason why you never had a sm complain about sob/assasins and adeptus arbites is because both the WH and the DH codex gives options to ally those armies with a parent sm list.It is possible to make a IG traitor regiment with BL allias [IG +GK or even death watch kill teams] or have sm and sob [sm parent list +sob allias],without the use of imagination. it is not possible with csm and demons .

    Also as the bringing back the chaotic in chaos goes and more freedom for players to pick their lists. I seem to fail to see that . the random factor of certain units[khorn lord , dreadnought] makes them unplayable and not just at a tournament level.
    I also fail to see where the options are. We had many list of different power level in the 3.5 codex. Rigth now we have one variation of the same list , list from players around the world are carbon copies of each other . How is giving players one list to play , giving them more options and freedom to pick what they want ? Or is the freedom giving us IW oblits , what makes other hvy support units almost not used.
    Also you seem to forget that in the 3.5 codex one could have full freedom of choice of gear and units . Plague marines hand in hand with khorn berzerkers and the leader is a slansh lord ? no problem , one just took the black legion list.


  78. Gav: can you please confirm if a chaos dread is really supposed to step-dance 360 degrees, when it goes into fire frenzy mode.

    I read the rules like it has to choose its target from within the weapons sight arc of 45 degrees – but a lot of people argues that it will shoot targets behind it if they are closer “because it can pivot” as they say.


  79. I seem to recall not many Chaos players actually wanting a Demons codex.

    I love Chaos Marines, more so than a Genestealer Cult, which not too many people seem to want to legalize after making it proper to play. While I understand the need to bring out more profit from a wargame, please stop kicking the older players out a window. The problem I have is we the players enjoyed the animosity of ancient rivalry, and restriction. If you wanted to use something and not be from the Legion, you had to pick Black Legion, or make yourself a custom Warband dedicated to that God. Also, on scale of Orks, as a proper defender of their army, they are right on a scale that you need to play a speed freak in order to be cheezing. Chaos only rescaled and we went from having 6 overpowered Lists, to two.

    Some people like a good story, and some background Gav, and quite frankly cutting it out after 20+ years of writing and good stuff tends to piss the majority of players off. Now instead of a Lord with half an army of Chosen to run amock across the board, I can legally play a non-apoc game with 6 Land Raiders and 2 Demon Princes from Slaanesh, with Khornate Berserkers for troops. Everyone knows this is not supposed to work, but can. Simply removing restrictions for people does not make it better, it makes it bland, and worse.

    I am not satisfied with the new codex, I am not satisfied in the attention GW has showed to players from even other armies. I even hear Chaos players are liking the new Space Furri…Wolf Codex because it represents their armies better than the Chaos Codex, using Counts as… that’s ****ing sad.

    I do like however the ability for Chaos lite players to make their own warbands of Cult…no wait, it says they have to go to the Old Traitor Legions dedicated to the gods, now I have to write up some more uninteresting banter of how Deserters and stuff got a Following going, and then limit them to unimportant campaigns because anything decent to semi-major is heresy against important First Founding Chapter’s and Legions.

    This is worse than pitting 40k against another scifi universe, or simply putting an Imperator vs Spirit of Motherwill, it sucks.

    I will however say I do enjoy Kharn (Who really is a great guy), and how we all get Chainswords and grenades (except Rubric Marines, no one will show them any proper love), and how everyone has Vindicators. However, I do not like having my backstory chopped out and having to be forced to rewrite everything, or if I was an Iron Warrior, Redo everything from the damn beginning. Honestly if I wanted to play an army that I know isn’t going to get so horribly screwed bent over, I would have stuck to my Genestealer Cult army regardless if it gets legalized in the next 10 years (I heard it was for an Australian legit tournament.) I am also not apologizing if I seem offensive, I don’t understand why people apologize for not liking something when they pay for it and play it. Next Chaos Space Marines will get nerfed into: Space Marines: Traitoris Extremis, where we finally get offed into the message I got is we’re just another Variant of Space Marines that is too complex to be done with a vanilla SM Codex..but that’s the impression you left me.


  80. While I can agree that the current Chaos codex is a great codex if you’re playing just a pick-up game, just throwing together a list of whatever, or if you want a tournament list, it does unfortunately fall down in representing fluffy lists.

    An example is my Night Lord list. By fluff, the Night Lords don’t use Chaos. No marks, no daemons, etc, and they prefer terror tactics. This limited me in 3.5. I couldn’t use any of the big shiny Cult troops others got to use, instead I had to make do with my Daemonic Visage to represent Night Lords, and make use of my free Night Vision. Sure, it was restrictive, but I loved it though. It perfectly captured the Night Lords.
    Now, to use the 4th Ed codex, I lost all the things that made my Night Lords what they were. My list got reduced to a bare-bones imitation of what it was previously. Sure, I COULD use Cult units, or Obliterators, or Defilers to bring some power and variation back into the list, but it feels wrong. Night Lords don’t use those things. I COULD use Icons as ‘counts-as’ Veteran Skills, but why does a unit forget how to assault as well when some guy randomly holding a stick dies? It just doesn’t feel right.
    What I find particularly saddening is that if the rumours are true, the new Space Wolf codex will be a better fit for my Night Lords than the Chaos Space Marine codex. I get my Night Vision back, I get the “hardened veteran” feel back, I get drop-pods (something very fitting for Night Lords), and I get ATSKNF to represent our undying hatred of the cursed Imperials.

    What needs to be remembered is that Chaos IS restrictive. The Chaos Gods are incredibly jealous things. Khorne isn’t going to be happy if his favoured Warlord goes around heavily recruiting other Cults into his army! Khorne is stronger than those weaklings! To show his disfavour, instant spawndom for the Warlord.
    People complaining about the strictness of the old Legion rules often forget that nothing forced you to use them. Contrary to what many people seem to say, I’ve pored overmy 3.5 codex, and have yet to find the paragraph stating “If your army is painted in X scheme, it must use Y rules.” You don’t like that Death Guard can’t have Havocs? One, its part of their fluff. Two, if it bothers you so much, use the standard list, and grab some heavy weapons.

    I’ll disagree with the above “ice cream” example, but only slightly. What this codex did instead is change a slightly limited amount of highly versatile units for a slightly larger amount of non-versatile units (or at least as versatile as they were before).

    Cult Legions can finally have their marked anything (not that they couldn’t use the standard list before), but those Marks don’t give the same benefits they did before. The Cult Terminators, Chosen of the Gods, highly favoured beings, are somehow less favoured by their God that that new-comer in power armour over there. Hell, the LORD is less favoured than the basic Cult Troops.

    We then have the standard list, which gained practically nothing in variation, only being able to give marks to all units equally. Instead, they gave up the depth of character mentioned above.

    Then, we have the Undivided (non-Cult) Legions, namely the Iron Warriors, Alpha Legion, and Night Lords. Word Bearers weren’t hit so badly. What these lists gained was access to things they didn’t want to take, if they stayed true to fluff. I’ll say it again to all those misinformed people who try to use a particular argument against me. Raptors do not a Night Lords list make. Terror tactics do. Chosen do not an Alpha Legion list make, and so on.
    These Legions, instead of really gaining anything new, are now forced to use the limited version of the old standard list.


    • Daemon Princes, beings that previously were almost unlimited in their possible forms in the original Realms of Chaos, are now limited in choice to choosing a Mark, choosing a psychic power, and choosing to have wings. The giant monstrosity that Khorne blessed with a Bloodthirsters head, eagle wings and the legs of a dog is now identical to the seemingly frail Slaaneshi Daemon Prince, whose face is a twisted image of “perfection”, with goat horns, and talons for gently caressing the enemies of Slaanesh are now identical other than the Marks they have, and the Khorne one has wings.
      Daemon Princes are the one unit that should never be limited. These are creatures whose form and abilities are determined by the passing whim of their patron God at the time of their “birth”. They shouldn’t be pigeon-holed into “can fly” and “can’t fly”. I don’t believe that the Daemon Prince with the blade bigger than you are is as dangerous in close combat as the Nurgle Prince who finds it hard to move around his diseased bulk, relying on his Nurglings to attack for him.

      The same is true for Chaos Lords. When the codex was first released, I didn’t really like the removal of daemonic gifts, but they had the essential upgrades available. Then the Loyalist codex came out, and Captains not only had their stats upgraded to equal the “superior” Chaos Lord, but they had so many optional upgrades that gave them so much variation it wasn’t funny. Particularly ironic was the auxilliary grenade launcher, as if their bolter (a rapid-firing rpg) wasn’t enough grenade-y death. This felt like a smack in the face for us who lost our Gifts of the Gods and Daemonic Gifts. They could get Digital Weapons, but simple artificer armour was too much for us?

      What I will credit this codex on is opening up the Tzeentch units to be things other than the Thousand Sons. True, they are the Cult Unit, but they’re a highly unusual Cult Unit that doesn’t represent the Cult of Tzeentch as a whole.

      Lastly, I will readily admit that much of these complaints come from hindsight, from where the design strategy of the codexes was changed after the Chaos Marine codex was released. I do not blame Gav in any way for the stream-lining that our Codex received, it was the plan at the time. He couldn’t go against it, and every codex was to receive the same treatment. For what you did in that design strategy, you have my applause. You pulled off a heavily streamlined version of Chaos.

      What my complaints come from is simple bitterness that the design strategy was changed to almost the complete opposite. Before, I could rest assured that every codex would be streamlined as we were. Then the Loyalist codex came out, and I was left thinking of what could have been if our Codex was released under this new strategy.
      My one hope is that a Legions codex is not too far in the distant future, and it is simply being held back until after the much more deserving Dark Eldar. Until then, it seems I’ll be using the Space Wolves for my Night Lords.


  81. I am regularly surprised by just how much ill feeling there is about the Chaos Space Marines Codex.

    Or would it be more accurate to say that I am surprised by the *depth* of ill feeling held by a certain segment of the Warhammer 40,000-playing community?

    Personally, although I can see some areas that could have been done better (and you can say that about any product, anywhere, anywhen, surely), I reckon the current Chaos Space Marines Codex is pretty cool, and it paves the way superbly for variant Legion Codexes down the line.

    If I object to anything in the Chaos Space Marines Codex, it’s that I think it could have gone further and full-on called itself “Chaos Space Marine Renegades Codex”, and dropped even more of the Legion-type units, and included some more loyalist type gear too…

    …but that imaginary Codex is from a perfect world where a stepping-stone book like the current Codex Chaos Space Marines isn’t required, and Codex CSM: Renegades could sit as a fully independent Codex in its own right, instead of acting as a bridge between the past (a bazillion options trying to represent all the Legions [i]and[/i] Renegades in one single book) and the future (a seperate Codex for each of the major Legions as well as a Codex for the Renegades).

    So anyway, the temporary reduction in army types seems a small price to pay for a future where Codex World Eaters, or Codex Thousand Sons, etc could come to pass.


    • The new Codex editions are supposed to educate new players about their army, provide the rules for said Army, and update to the new edition of the main Rules, not sell itself. Yes, the Legions require more work, but now it’s not a small price to pave the way for the future, because I’d rather download a new codex if it’s just an add on for this next edition. However, you are right, this codex is nothing more than Space Marines: Renegades (chaos).

      Or, Chaos Space Marines: Black Legion


    • Ben, that would be all well and good if that is actually what was happening. But this codex has been out for years now. Gav mentioned that they were thinking of doing Legions when it was first being written which would have been what, 3 years ago now at least? And yet it was only recently that someone at GW mentioned that they were “sort of maybe possibly going to do a Legion codex.” Given the development cycle time, and the list of several other races that we know are going to be done next (tying up at least the next year), we’re not going to see a Legion codex for long enough that it will be time for our next codex anyway. So the whole explanation that the current codex is so minimal to pave the way for Legion codexes is a cop-out. At this point we know it isn’t true, even if they originally intended it to be. They have not followed through on it.


    • “Or would it be more accurate to say that I am surprised by the *depth* of ill feeling held by a certain segment of the Warhammer 40,000-playing community?”

      I think it’s because Chaos Space Marines, Traitors and Renegades both, are such an absolutely integral part of the entire 40k mythos, have amazing backstory and thematic structure, have incredible models, and are just absolutely sexy in their power, fanaticism, and bitterness that it’s impossible not to convert to a raging fanboi for anything Kaos.

      Until you read the rules for playing this incredible, over-the-top army and realize that not only is it pretty generic, but that you only have about three different ways to build your army if you don’t want to be slobberknocked retarded by Captain Vulkan and his A-MAZING flaming space cowboys.

      I’ve read every scrap of background material that I can get my hands on, and for the most part, it’s impossible to get my army to really mirror the feel of it’s background material except in the basic sense of spiky dudes in spiky boxes.

      That, I think, is the depth of bitterness surrounding the C:CSM; I play 40k to feel like I’m a 40k army. IG, SM, Orks, and Eldar all do a pretty good job of that. Chaos doesn’t.


  82. I like the codex. very balanced and gives me alot of room for choosing what I want to field in my army. Rogue trader vet


  83. I agree with HBMC. All that made Chaos in CSM is no more. For the first time since 2nd Ed. I actually stopped playing with my 6000 pts Black Legion, my 2500 pts Death Guard and my begining of Emperor C.
    Sorry, but the “count as” is a lame excuse. If I have a model that GW made, that model should be represent by rules. Now I can only hope for a happy ending after all the investement I’ve made.


  84. Thank you for making the same point as I have been preaching.
    The new Chaos codex is a great way to make a ever changing army with countless possibilities to make a unique army.


  85. The problem with the codex is that you say it was created to offer more possibilities but took away the possibilities people had before, like to play the legions.
    You say that you wanted people to be able to use count as to represent units but instead you FORCED players to use counts as to have viable lists. I’m for stream-lining but just because you streamline doesn’t mean you have to take away customization. That’s why chaos players are mad about the newer dexes, they’re powerful and fun. The chaos dex is just powerful. Most of the counts as is for power-gaming reasons to explain why the Night lord army has 2 Lash princes and obliterators but no bikes or havoks and has taken plague marines and berzerkers for all their troops.
    A lot of your arguments for the change in design have been that you wanted to make the game more fun but making it so that players have to bend the rules or use units they don’t want to as counts as and then have to argue about or explain their army and rules to their opponent isn’t fun. If you’d just taken the customization of the old dex and put it in the new streamlined format there would be no major complaints about the codex.
    I like the units of the new codex, I understand the generic daemons even though they should have the option to be marked and further customized, and I like the streamlined format and decision to get rid of the armory, but i don’t see why tha had to come with the loss of most of our options. The older dexes weren’t as powerful except for a few powergaming builds but they’re my favorites for the ability to customize our armies. The old trait system for Codex:SM was great and allowed players to make armies they wanted, they needed some tweaking but they allowed you to make YOUR OWN army list and not just copy other people’s lists. That’s what made them fun. Most players are willing to restrict themselves to certain choices in an army in order to get a boost and be fluffy. Now those players that used to play fluffy and get that boost either had to play a list they didn’t want to play or restrict themselves and be uncompetitive.
    It really seems like the GW design staff is disconnected from the average player’s mindset.


  86. csm players realy are crying over nouthing seriously it could be alot worse u could play dark angels there were 4 of us at my club befor the codex came out now i havent seen a DA army in over 6 months evean at local torniments and outher gaming clubs they seem to have vanished for good reason


  87. I love how Gav ignores everyone.

    Way to dodge Gav!


  88. Let me start off by saying that I am a big fan of Gav and most of his work, however I am thoroughly dissappointed with the CSM codex.

    The basic chaos space marine is the worst choice in the army list, up there with many older codexes troop choices.

    Everyone knows that means people need to purchase various cults to make an effective list. I have no interest in any cult troop choices. The inabilit to use the basic troopers of my army in an effective manner, sinle-handedly killed 40k for me (not to mention that true line of sight is an awful awful rule which should be errata’d out of existence).

    Besides the power shift away from the basic chaos marine, the worst flaw of the chaos codex is the introduction of the lash psychic power. The lash is an ability which never should have been allowed into the game. The single most annoying ability was the callidus assasssin, which had completely left friendly play. Now, the CSM can do it twice a turn. Ummm… yay? The last thing I want is my opponent moving my troops for me as a means to create an enjoyable game.

    So, I can’t use my basic troops and the army itself seems to be written around using a truly annoying power to make it work in competitive balance, what about all the cool background and specifics? Nothing. All the different wargear which made the choas codex such a pleasure to use was replaced with boring same-ness accross the different chaos deities. The intellectual prowess of the 40k player is not that of a small bird. People have the ability to handle a variety of rules and a larger number of wargear choices than 3.

    Last the possibility of future codexes is, unfortunately a lame excuse. To put forward a sub-standard product with the excuse that it will be corrected in 3 years is terrible customer service. Sorta like windows vista.


  89. hi gavin

    May i start by sincere apologies for some comments i did, was out by just pure rage. Divergence of perceptions should be respected in all cases and I’m really sorry that my feelings gone berserk towards you.

    Two years now and Codex Chaos Space Marines is still an issue and clearly a stain and will be till there is an other one out.

    to begin the game itself the core rule book is great, streamlined, more easy to use than previous editions and speed up the game greatly. The core rule book on that part the GW team has done a great job.

    The Codex issue, that’s is the part where the game get messed up all the time. First the what you see it’s what you get should be always respected, in this way you can get more on the gaming part without having your nose in the core book or in your opponent’s codex and allows the awe of attention to details since having to look closely for those pesky grenades may change your own course of action instead of just plain asking and wonder if the stranger in front of you paid the points for those (stranger if you got a random game in a gaming shop)that’s where some rules or options are messing up in my opinion.

    Codex Chaos Space Marines was the first 5th edition supplement to come out if we are not counting the Eldar one that was a inbetween. For me on the first part it was a test to see if draconian changes was to be accepted by the community and clearly didn’t pass the test, i remember the first few months, those that liked it was the brand new stamp junkies, the tournament players and power gamers. The other side that are the mass of the 40k community just hated it, never i saw a codex create a such strong reaction in 18 years of gaming. After two years still creates some commotion so no wonder you decided to concentrate on something else.

    I won’t discuss about the Chaos Space Marine Codex since all the issues about it been pointed out already too much but there is some other bad codexes or some with really bad parts in it.

    Eldars, that one was great but a bit of craft world specific troops, elite or whatever would have been great, i felt that was the missing bit, overall a good book.

    Space Marines, huh that one, sorry Space Marine players but that book is of questionable quality.
    Too Much is like Not Enough. Squat Thunder Fire Cannon ? Digital Weapons ? Ammo types ? whats all that, I’m passing many many more.

    Upcoming Space Wolves, This one About the Vikings of the far future already has the ridiculous part where a 2 tons armored guy rides a over grown wolf.. got nothing about a pack of giant wolves but wolf cavalry ? Just my opinion but for me it’s a no go, even if it’s a good unit to have on the table top.
    The removal of the Leman Russ Exterminator and the Wolfen is really bad for those who had them and i think removing the Wolfen is a big mistake. Sagas one other bad part of the upcoming codex too but that i won’t debate here.

    Orks, overall a good one but there is some units that should been troop choices considering the stat line. Mega Armor Orks, sadly we rarely see them, those should be revised so they are worth taking.

    Imperial Guards, in all those out recently, this one i really like but still missing a Tactical Space Marine Squad in the Elite entry but that’s my humble opinion again.

    To sum it up there is no perfect codex we all know that and as you said if you want to really play the game explore outside the rule with friends. having something official allows to play with anyone and considering the time and money to invest in the hobby it is clear the community is a passionate one and passion is the most difficult client to please.


  90. have to say i lost a bit of respect for you after reading your attempted justifications, mr. thorpe. i feel you have a real lack of understanding of what ‘chaos’ is in the GW universe as well as the simple logistics of your ill-fated undertaking. give me a job, however, and i promise i’ll make all the kiddies like you again.

    that being said you are to be commended for broaching this subject in a public forum, at least relative to your ivory tower ilk, even if you do stoop to defending alleged personal attacks with still more personal attacks, no matter how well-rationalized you may think them.

    reactions to your specific comments:

    on rules, you miss the point entirely. it was never about rules, it was about possibilities. i used to be able to have a squad leader who could breathe fire, or fly, or be spiky. i used to be able to have terminators or bikers who could gain powers by pledging allegiance to certain gods. the rules enabled that, but they did not require it.

    yes, i can play anything ‘counts as’ i can ‘count’ models i have painted in the iron warriors scheme ‘as’ a tau army. i can ‘count’ an emperor’s children army ‘as’ an eldar army. both of these options would be more viable and rich in possibilities to me the player/modeler than using the current set of chaos rules to represent chaos models, but is that mindset viable from a game development perspective?

    the point of a developer is to make rules. do you see? the point of the rules is to enable us, the players, to fulfill our fantasies of how we want our individual army to act on the tabletop. rules create and delineate an environment for interaction as players, a common language that enables us to understand each other. your job is to lay a groundwork that inspires us to embellish it. the old codex did not obfuscate house rules, mr. thorpe; the new codex requires them.

    on the codex representing a ‘general’ chaos list, it does not. it is obvious to most players i have heard from that it is a ‘renegades’ list. the question i would like to ask you however is, “how would the codex be different if it had said ‘codex: renegade space marines’ on the cover?” renegades are a valid and viable concept, but they are not fraught with the kind of pathos which makes the chaos space marines so indelible.

    on daemons and their separate codex, daemons need to be summoned, enough said. while one is likely, fluff-wise, to see an army of traitors and chaos marines together or separate in the 41st millennium, and while they are likely to be supported in some cases by a daemon auxiliary, said daemons must be summoned by some means, unless i greatly misunderstand the concept. as for the taking of allies to augment a main force, you must understand that the imperium of man is a huge bureaucracy and that the army lists meant to represent its forces must be commensurately rigid in composition. chaos, on the other hand, is chaos.

    on not having the resources to showcase fan contributions, white dwarf should be that resource. instead, it is an advertisement that fans pay for.

    i think the biggest problem with games workshop is simply its frustrating lack of consistency. it seems like scheduling new releases would be pretty easy: you put out a new edition of the core rules, then you update each codex in turn. instead we have this. i think it would be not as hard to swallow if we had more feedback from the developers as to the hows and whys in the form of something like you have done here, and once again i must recognize your efforts on this blog as a step in the right direction.

    overall, when i read these criticisms, i see them as factors which can be tweaked to create a richer gaming environment. i see that for each factor there is a continuum of possibilities, and that by establishing a codex’s place in that continuum, its uniqueness and continued viability is assured. as for whether or not GW ascribes to this philosophy, i cannot comment simply because there is such perceived waffling from codex to codex. is codex: chaos space marines the ‘variety’ codex? is it the ‘do anything you want’ codex? is it the ‘failure’ codex? it is only through context that we can answer this question, and right now there is no context.


    • I would like to thank you for your post.



      • thanks a lot! really appreciate it. dziekuje!


    • Beautiful post diver.

      I was thinking the new Chaos codex will not be Legions but, Space Marines: Renegades.

      Also, the unconfirmed rumor this codex was blatantly rushed to buy more time for orks.


  91. Hi Gav, many thanks for posting up your response to what has certainly been a hotly debated subject in gaming circles!

    First off, you are right that there were some glaring probs with the 3.5 codex: Iron Warriors and daemon princes etc but these have been covered in depth already so i’ll leave it there.

    After persvering with the current book (I play noise marines) since release day, i have waited to ask you the following:

    I remember from your design notes you said you wanted the codex to represent renagades (A la pirates of the maelstrom) rather than just the old legions, and as such you pushed the background of the Red Corsairs to the forfront, all of which is very well written! My problem is that it utterly fails to do this.

    The Red Corsairs for example, rebelled 500yrs or so ago, according to the current time line… they were a full modern marine chapter before then, and when they rebelled they just threw away all the multi meltas, assault cannons, landspeeders, whirlwinds etc?

    Its even worse with some of the others, such as the shadow company, who were even newer. The only way to represnt recent renagades is with the standard marine book.

    Right, if it cant represent renagades, how about the legions? Black Legion yes, iron warriors yes, alphas no, word bearers no, night lords no and the cults no.

    Using my Emperors children as an example; i cant have a noise marine commander, such as marius vairosium. I can have 2 daemon princes with the lash… i never will field that, its too powerfull an ability for its cost.

    EC Terminators no, because they cannot be marked or culted. And once the icon guy dies the squad suddenly doesnt worship slaanesh anymore? Come on.

    It is even worse for nurgle players, their icons cost 50pts for a 1 wound upgrade.

    The noise marine squad is quite good i must say, lots of anti infantry shooting and well costed for its abilitys. My bugbear is the blastmaster, at 40pts, its a bit much?

    I know the new marine book is a whole edition newer, but even when compaired to the last marine dex, there are many contradictions in the vehicles… Machine spirit for example: Our chaos landraiders have lost that piece of tech? Daemonic possession you might say? Being able to fire those lascannons at different targets is far better.

    Possessed have already been covered so i shall leave those as i would only add to the nays.

    I hope you take the time to read my post, i know that you no longer work for GW so all the discussion is kind of mute anyway, but perhaps you would pass on some of this feedback to your mates and former colleagues who still work there, i know they read stuff that gets posted on bols and warseer but possibly coming “from the horses mouth” so to speak, it might have more of an effect.

    Kind Regards

    Richard Bowker


  92. But this will never happen in the current codex form. We are talking about 9 separate books here, GW can’t even release the current selection in a timely manner, let alone a further 9. by the time the last one is done the first would be outdated.

    To be honest, Chaos doesn’t really need separate Legion codices. The last edition did just fine in representing the major 9… all it needed was tidying up, addressing some imbalance issues (in the case of Iron warriors and the dreadaxe) and re-jigging to conform to the current codex styles of Special Characters conferring army benefits and wargear incorporation into the unit options.

    I applaud Gav for opening this topic here and agree that criticisms should be leveled at his work and not in the form of personal attacks, but hope he recognizes how monumentally flawed in almost every way his version of the Chaos codex is.

    the vast majority of the issues players have mentioned are not a matter of opinion, they are fact! dreadnoughts are considerably worse than before, possessed random gift selection is backward, DPs lack of upgrades are a joke, the icon system is considerably flawed, Lords are pitiful, Spawn are pointless, vehicles are bland, Daemons are boring, Lash is OTT, Sorcerer powers are lame in comparison to their much more conservative imperial counterparts, etc etc etc.

    Chaos players wanted Chaos marines, and not renegades. the ‘count as’ rule is a complete cop out and flies in the face of WYSIWYG, a fundamental rule of 40K that doesn’t serve to constrict player creativity but one that encourages fair play.

    What ever Gav’s original brief was, I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t to kill of the character of the book for the sake of simplicity.


  93. Since you mention you’ve had many people write to you to say how much they like the new codex, it only seems fair to write to you specifically to tell you how much I hate it (something I haven’t done in the past).

    It’s just so much less fun, characterful and interesting.

    There are so many options (in terms of both individual customisations and themed lists) in the 4th ed. codex that got taken out for the 5th. Several of these were marvellous things like noise marine armies which have been rendered completely unusable (without ridiculous count-as. Counts-as has its place but Squats are usable with counts-as, and that’s not what I call rules support).

    Despite the slash-n-burn approach, the new codex isn’t any better balanced than the old one. Horrible Iron Warriors flooded the tournament scene in 4th ed. Now it’s horrible Lash of Submission lists.

    The whole approach of separating daemons and mortals is wrong-headed. The essence of chaos space marines is their willingness to ally with monstrous inhuman forces. Being able to summon space marine scouts to the tabletop is hardly a substitute. The daemons codex is pretty daft too, being overburdened with HQs and lacking sensible heavy support options. Thematically it seems to belong in the WFB universe, because the connection with mortal followers has been severed.

    I collected a strict chaos undivided army with summoned daemons under the 4th ed rules. It was the army that got me back into 40k. I was intensely disappointed with the new rules and I never bought the codex in the end, or expanded my army for 5th edition. My chaos army is in a box. If I ever want to play ‘counts as’ I can give it a whirl with Codex: Space Marines.


  94. It’s good to see communication with a living person from GW (or related).
    Gav: on one hand I see good intentions, on the other I see bad changes (IMHO of course)! I just started to play Nurgle, as I love the pool of conversions you may select from. I fought many times against chaos before and I always liked that armies were in fact related to gods. This is what I really miss in the new codex.
    From this codex, I can field Thousand Sons and Death Guard supported by the Emperor’s children! How is that? According to rules I barely can imagine an army like this led by one general! (To be more precise: HQ.) The last edition codex had its flaws (overpowered in certain aspects), but the armies were unique and god specific. I knew a nurgle force when I faced one, they had all the special gadgets for the princes etc. They were more separated. These were restrictions, but IMHO legitimate ones!
    My other problem with CSM is the daemons. All the gods have their daemons with their special properties, why were these removed? Legions of a god do not have ‘specific’ daemons? I hoped that the daemons codex will allow the basic daemons to be taken as troops for CSM, so I was pretty disappointed, same goes to the greater daemons…

    You may say that ‘this is just the codex’, but hey, if I don’t care for the codex, then what should I care for? FMIR??? Oh please… If it’d work like that in people’s minds, then nobody would really buy codices – or even rulebooks. We buy them as we’d like to see rulesets which describe the armies from the fluff! Otherwise, when we’d update the restrictions it’d be like if we were 5 years old playing fairy tales!
    The best thing in rulebooks and codices, that we can FOLLOW them! We don’t have to discuss the terms of the game, as they’re written.

    The only people who can change that are there at GW. We’re counting on them to make our games even more enjoyable.

    About playtesting: external testers are required. Yes, that may lead to information leaking… but what’s wrong with that? GW has no competitors in WH at all. Also the contracts are to prevent that.

    That’s about it IMHO. Otherwise I play Dark Angels and Necrons (I’m upset about the carelessness for the former; and hoping for something new for the latter).


  95. I think a lot of griping,frustration and rants (I’m an ex-staffer and boy were there some rants!) could have been prevented if GW had stated that they intended to revisit specific legions at a later date.
    I why know GW avoid spilling the beans about upcoming releases for both financial, (I won’t buy ‘X’ now because I’m waiting for ‘Y’ to be released) reasons and to maintain the excitement for the players (“who gives a shit about space wolves? I’ve just seen the Dark Eldar that are getting released in 6/8/12/24 months time!”).
    If GW had said “Here’s the new chaos codex! It’s great because….(see reasons Gav gave above) It will allow you field a mulitude of options for all chaos players to use (more devout players can enjoy it too and look forward to more legion specific lists in the future)” people would have at least sighed with relief that they were not being forgotten.

    Another simple solution would be to ditch the silly “No white dwarf army lists!” rule. They may have taken a lot of resources to test and balance but my god they gave the hobby some variety (and made White Dwarf an essential monthly purchase.


    • I recall White Dwarf making alot of good things, where have you been?


  96. For me personally the problem with the Codex was that it was released as Codex Space Marines and I was expecting rules to field my legions i.e Death Guard and Word Bearers even if it was on a half page,
    If it was originally intended to be Codex Renegades or Codex Black Legion then why not pre-warn people- it would have saved soooo many people feeling upset because from all the people I know, this is the main bone of contention rather than any rules in the codex itself, we just feel bland, yet space marines get the vanilla codex, black templars, blood angels, dark angels and space wolves codexs.
    I must admit I’m enthused by GW putting news highlights on their web and also the talk of a GW own podcast, maybe the communication corridors are opening and they may start to talk about future plans more freely. Let me make this clear I do not have any ill feeling towards Gav at all- my other love is Dark Elves and what a fantastic book that is!!!


  97. “the temporary reduction in army types seems a small price to pay for a future where Codex World Eaters, or Codex Thousand Sons, etc could come to pass.”

    You mean *if* they come to pass. In the meantime what do you suggest all the players do whose army has been essentially destroyed? Not trying to be mean, but we used to have an approximately equal mix of loyalist / chaos players where I’m at. Now there is only one player who continues to use his army. The others have either moved on to one of their other armies or in a couple cases quit playing altogether. I cannot see how this is in any way good for the hobby, but then that’s me.


    • “In the meantime what do you suggest all the players do whose army has been essentially destroyed?”

      I suggest they think outside the box (or Codex), as this is supposed to be a creative hobby that can involve building models, modelling conversions, painting models, and yes creating new rules too on occasion (even if it’s only writing stats for a new Apocalypse unit, or rules for a new battle scenario, or saying that a unique scratchbuilt terrain piece grants a 4+ cover save like a building, or whatever).

      I suggest that they either agree with their opponent that they’d like to try something a little bit outside the strict Codex limits (like including some of the old units or upgrade choices from the old Codex, or some rules they entirely made up), or find a suitable method of using counts-as to represent their old stuff in the new list (with Iron Warriors Basilisks counting as Vindicators, for example), or find another army list that suits their purposes better:

      For example:

      Lost and the Damned Players – Either use one of the Forgeworld Traitor Imperial Guard lists from Imperial Armour VI or VII, or use some of the old units out of the old Codex, or mix some IG units into their Chaos Space Marines army.

      The only place that says you can only use an unmodified list straight out of a Codex is a Tournament, after all!

      Why do so many set such restrictive limits upon their games of toy soldiers, seeing the Tournament-official Codex rules as the entirety, not the enabler, of their hobby?

      “I cannot see how this is in any way good for the hobby, but then that’s me.”

      Well, it’s freed up Forgeworld to create three new Chaos army lists already (Generic Traitor IG/L&TD, Nurgle L&TD, and Khorne L&TD) which mix Chaos Marine, Traitor Guard units, and Chaos Mutant units, all in stand-alone lists, each of which is characterful and unique.

      They’re not Tournament-official?

      Not everything has to conform to rigid Tournament limits, when 99.9% of games take place outside of that most restrictive of environments…

      …and I’m not speaking without relevant experience here, for I own an army that has seen turmoil following a Codex update…

      …I have an Elysian Drop Troops Guard army, and my (non Tournament-official in the first place!) army list has been put in an odd state since the new Imperial Guard army list came out… have I stopped playing my army, or have I agreed some sensible “house rule” updates to my army and continued playing?

      Take a guess which I did! 🙂

      And y’know what, having re-written a few of the rules to make my out-of-date army list still playable, I’m having FUN!


      • That’s great Ben, if you have a dedicated basement/garage gaming group. But i can’t walk into my local gamestore (official or independent) and do any of that stuff. It simply is not a realistic option for most of us gamers and should not be required to represent armies that we previously had perfectly good rules for. “Make up your own rules!” is a cop-out excuse for what has been taken away.


      • Unfortunately most people play to win.. you would be a fool not to so thats understandable.. and if they loose they will blame in balance.. therefore they quickly refuse to play anything but the codex as is..
        Also as a player i do not wish i spend 15 minutes arguing over the balance and fun in my list that i have created using the rules and the codex as a reference when i go to a gaming store and try to play a game with someone i dont know, often ending in me not getting to play afterall since the person ends up saying that he doesnt want to play against my stand in, counts as home brewed army..
        That is the problem with the whole “its a framework.. work with it” argument..
        Sorry for the lack of punctuation etc. but its late =)


      • I’m sorry to disagree whole-heartily with Mr. Skinner. No one wants to play; and by ‘play’ I mean to enter a competitive match between two strategic minds and the army lists they’ve created; If one of the opponents has made up their own rules. This is also true for those who bash multiple compilations of rules together from different sources.

        The rules are there two create balance, efficiency, and predictability. It is a given assumption that the points values are not only in balance with the intended affect on the table-top but also in balance with the entire collection of units in its specific Codex. Should I have summoned genestealers, instead of lesser demons, that take advantage of assaulting the turn they enter? I’m just “thinking out of the box” after all. The answer is: of course not. Why? Because it is blatantly unfair, unpredictable, inefficient and unbalanced.

        We need rules as a foundation so the game can exist and be played by anyone, against anyone, who has read the rules. Your whole point, one that Gav seems to share, about being creative and essentially making up rules makes no logical sense what-so-ever. If that is the way Gav feels; and as an agent of GW, GW vicariously shares his sentiments; we, hobbyists, may as well NOT purchase ANY of the consumable rules and make them all up on our own. This is a farce because it obviously eliminates the hobby and instead turns us hobbyists into small contingents of people creatively playing with toy soldiers. It would eliminate the hobby because each time new opponents meet to play, they have to, metaphorically, re-invent the wheel.

        I choose to play WH40k, not ‘Mr. Skinner’s Army Men’.


      • Because we can’t have fun, because 90% of the fanbase won’t play anything without begging for permission if it’s not tournament Legal.

        I don’t think everyone got it yet, but the days were people can get creative and outside the box are very over now for 40k. Now it’s about powergaming and whose army can bend the rules the best to completely wipe out the other guy. Also, I’m contemplating asking the Space Wolves writer to write our next dext.


      • So basically, your comment on non-tournament legal armies is “well, I had an army that was never tournament-legal, and I lived!”
        The key difference here is that these other armies WERE tournament legal, and were constructed to be so. You, on the other hand, willingly picked an army that isn’t tournament-legal. You still have a list that perfectly enables you to use your army, even if not in tournaments.

        And lastly, basilisks counting as Vindicators? A long-range artillery piece counting as a battle-tank with very short range? Really? How does that begin to make sense?
        You’d be better off converting an Ogryn loader, using it static and call it a Defiler.


      • “Unfortunately most people play to win..”

        That does not prevent you offering your opponent a choice before a game along the lines of:

        ‘How would you like to try playing against this army list I wrote myself? You could even offer me some advice about your impressions about how it played after the game!’

        I would be really surprised if you had a high rate of refusals if you introduced your wish in that manner.

        “and if they loose they will blame imbalance.. therefore they quickly refuse to play anything but the codex as is..
        Also as a player i do not wish i spend 15 minutes arguing over the balance and fun in my list”

        Honestly, this paragraph above seems to give a really poor impression of your view of gamers. You view them as immature (incapable of judging a list’s power objectively), fearful of change/stepping outside the box, and argumentative.

        Maybe I just have a more positive view of the average human being than you.

        “That is the problem with the whole “its a framework.. work with it” argument..”

        The problem appears to be that many of the vocal critics either:

        A – Don’t have the motivation to try stepping outside the box, because, like you, they are afraid of their prospective opponent’s reaction.


        B – For all their repeated protestations, they don’t really care all that much and are happy enough with their Codex as-is anyway, or at least not unhappy enough to motivate them to try something different.


        A while back I collected a Gnoblar Kingdoms army for Warhammer Fantasy (an unofficial army list from White Dwarf).

        I wrote my own rules for a Level Zero Gnoblar Butcher (Wizard) character (I called him a ‘Meatcutter’!) which I thought was fun, and included him in the army.

        I played many, many games, and noone, friend or stranger, ever refused to play my *unofficial* army which included a *homebrew character*.

        So that’s my own experience; people aren’t so fearful of change as you would propound.


      • I wouldn’t say using a Gnoblar list in WHFB – not much of an overpowered list – and customizing a CSM list is quite comparable.

        As for myself I’d partially allow changes to the codex, but in some aspect I surely won’t.

        If I’d judge it to be out of balance, then I would rather not play against it. And this is where FMIR fails, as these questions are not the matter of objective judgement.

        “Honestly, this paragraph above seems to give a really poor impression of your view of gamers. You view them as immature (incapable of judging a list’s power objectively), fearful of change/stepping outside the box, and argumentative.”
        Frankly? I agree with that! Being incapable to judge a list’s power when it’s put up against you is NOT immaturity! If you’re independent and judge lists of two other players is quite different. Still a good codex is 1000x better than any customised stuff. Maybe not in “idea” terms, but in game terms – surely.


      • “””I’m sorry to disagree whole-heartily with Mr. Skinner. No one wants to play; and by ‘play’ I mean to enter a competitive match between two strategic minds and the army lists they’ve created; If one of the opponents has made up their own rules.”””


        Then why have my friends and I tried out army lists I (and often my friends too) have written for various games, hundreds of times?

        “””The rules are there two create balance, efficiency, and predictability.”””

        And you have never, ever, changed a rule, no matter how minor, in order to ‘fix’ it, according to the prevailaing opinion in your gaming group?

        You’ve never created a new rule, say to help you run a campaign?

        You’ve never decided what an ambiguous section of the ‘official’ rules should mean?

        Never ever ever?

        “””Should I have summoned genestealers, instead of lesser demons, that take advantage of assaulting the turn they enter? I’m just “thinking out of the box” after all. The answer is: of course not.”””

        No, the answer is:
        “That’d be fine as long as you House Rule that Genestealers summoned in this manner must pay an increased points cost premium to compensate for their extra abilities”

        “””Why? Because it is blatantly unfair, unpredictable, inefficient and unbalanced.”””

        Not if you modify the points cost…

        You’re not thinking outside the box, you’re reinforcing its walls!! 🙂

        “””We need rules as a foundation so the game can exist and be played by anyone, against anyone, who has read the rules. Your whole point, one that Gav seems to share, about being creative and essentially making up rules makes no logical sense what-so-ever.”””

        The guys who write the games also ‘make up rules’ you know, there’s no magic formula, or balance computer, or Dice God, to give everything its correct stats and points costs.

        Just people making a best judgement as to appropriate points costs and stats… and if you think a points cost or ability is wrong, why not change it so you can have more fun??

        Take some ownership of your hobby!

        “””This is a farce because it obviously eliminates the hobby and instead turns us hobbyists into small contingents of people creatively playing with toy soldiers. It would eliminate the hobby because each time new opponents meet to play, they have to, metaphorically, re-invent the wheel.”””

        You view the ‘hobby’ as a set of rules, I view the ‘hobby’ as an opportunity to be creative, with modelling, with painting, with tactical strategies, and yes also with rules writing.

        “””I choose to play WH40k, not ‘Mr. Skinner’s Army Men’.”””

        I’ve written downloadable rule sets and unique scenarios that have been downloaded literally hundreds of thousands of times…

        …so someone out there wants to play Mr. Skinner’s plucked-out-of-thin-air rules, even if you don’t!

        My experience has led me to believe that the typical wargamer has a mindset a lot more flexible than that of a typical ‘Chaos Space Marines are rubbish now’ vocalist.


      • “””So basically, your comment on non-tournament legal armies is “well, I had an army that was never tournament-legal, and I lived!”
        The key difference here is that these other armies WERE tournament legal, and were constructed to be so. You, on the other hand, willingly picked an army that isn’t tournament-legal. You still have a list that perfectly enables you to use your army, even if not in tournaments.”””

        And playing in Tournaments is really that important?

        Tournament style games must take up less than 1% of games-played, and of those games, only a fraction are played by Chaos Space Marines players… and that is the only environment that stipulates that you cannot change the rules.

        “””And lastly, basilisks counting as Vindicators? A long-range artillery piece counting as a battle-tank with very short range? Really? How does that begin to make sense?”””

        Why not?

        It’s a big armoured vehicle with a big gun.

        Say it’s been Daemonically posessed (and toughened) by the Iron Warriors, and bob’s your uncle, you have an awesome counts-as Vindicator.

        “””You’d be better off converting an Ogryn loader, using it static and call it a Defiler.”””

        Don’t be silly.


      • “I would be really surprised if you had a high rate of refusals if you introduced your wish in that manner.”
        Be suprised then, most of the people i play with flatout refuse to play against modified army lists and home brew characters and whatnot, they want to win, the fun they get out of the game and the hobby is to win and if i create something that can counter what they have by making up my own rules then they feel cheated and therefore they just refuse to play it if it aint “official”
        Your gaming environment may be much much different then mine and alot of other people on the forums and you may be able to be creative like that but what about the people who do not have that oppertunity ?
        The previous version of the codex did not stop the people who dont mind tampering with the framework and it helped the people who liked having lots of choices so they could still enjoy the game.
        The new version still do not stop the people who dont mind being creative but it does put an end to the fun for the people who either do not like messing about with the rules or simply play in a group that refuse to do anything but play by the rules.
        Making it like this is forcing the people who want to play Legion specific armys to tamper with the rules, that just does not seem very fair to me is all.

        I just hope all this discussion and arguing does not discourage Gav from writing another article like this one in the future =)
        I think no matter is said inhere everyone appreciates reading the article in the first place and appreciates the chance to voice an oppinion in relation to something they have wanted to talk about for some time.


      • “Why not?

        It’s a big armoured vehicle with a big gun.

        Say it’s been Daemonically posessed (and toughened) by the Iron Warriors, and bob’s your uncle, you have an awesome counts-as Vindicator.”

        The difference is that one is a lightly armoured artillery piece (and even closed-topped doesn’t near the protection of a Vindicator), whereas the other is a heavily armoured seige tank.
        Two completely different things, other than they’re both on tracks.

        Why has the Basilisk suddenly lost over half its range? Using it as a fire-support Defiler (with the Ogryn loader) would make much more sense. A battle-cannon is much closer to an Earthshaker than a Vindicator cannon is, much much closer, and the Ogryn represent the close-combat capabilities.


      • “””””“I would be really surprised if you had a high rate of refusals if you introduced your wish in that manner.”
        Be suprised then, most of the people i play with flatout refuse to play against modified army lists and home brew characters and whatnot, they want to win, the fun they get out of the game and the hobby is to win””””

        Then I must ask flatly, why are they playing Tabletop Wargames???

        GW’s core games, simply put, are not primarily intended for Tournament style gaming.

        “””Your gaming environment may be much much different then mine and alot of other people on the forums and you may be able to be creative like that but what about the people who do not have that oppertunity ?”””

        Find a gaming group that isn’t exclusively composed of WAAC Tournament types.

        It’s not hard to do, as the vast majority of gaming groups are not like the one you describe.

        “””Making it like this is forcing the people who want to play Legion specific armys to tamper with the rules, that just does not seem very fair to me is all.”””

        They’ve done what they did (remove the Legions) so that they can expand the range in the future. When that time rolls around, your WAAC Tournament style group will be happy bunnies.


      • “””Why has the Basilisk suddenly lost over half its range?”””

        Because the Daemon inside it prefers to get up close and personal to watch the giblets fly! 🙂

        “Using it as a fire-support Defiler (with the Ogryn loader) would make much more sense. A battle-cannon is much closer to an Earthshaker than a Vindicator cannon is, much much closer, and the Ogryn represent the close-combat capabilities.”

        Sorry I slightly misread your words before, and thought you meant that you might as well take an Ogryn and use it as a Defiler!

        Yeah having an Ogryn or two on top also seems like a creative way of using your old Iron Warriors Basilisk.


      • I think people forget that their gaming group of friends happens to be alot different then a large amount of players.

        I’ll even answer a question for you.

        Unless you sell your army, you’re stuck with what you bought. So the only other option besides storage is to keep playing it and try to make something out of it.

        In all honesty I do regret buying things off the Chaos line now, and should have just stuck to a Genestealer Cult list.


  98. Having a codex for all the legions would be great. Having a codex for each legion would be awful because they would never finish all of them and probably give up half way through. Either way I doubt that rules for legion codexes will come out while I am still a warhammer/40k player.


    • It is possible to create a Codex similar in fashion to Codex SM that allows Special Characters to customize the legions while including the rules in Codex CSM and, further, while editing those highly unpopular ones, i.e. dreadnaughts, possessed, marks v. icons, etc.


    • ph34r: Exactly right! Rules are to give a common ground of play to people. The less possible arguments are there, the more fun one can have playing!
      About “customizing”: I understand this in case of Elysian drop troops armies as they only have a FW codex and are non “standard rules conformed” either. But in case of chaos space marines??? They HAVE a codex, a ruleset, a framework whatever which shall apply to EVERY chaos player. So whenever I play with one of my opponents, I know he/she won’t cheat, as he/she follows the official codex, which should give both of us equal chances to win in the beginning! In any other case, I won’t be sure if the game would be “fair” after all. This is the point where I can see a strong fault in all the FMIR reasoning. The rulemakers have huge responsibility, it’d be good to live up to it, if there’s a strong feedback from players! Anyway I really don’t like that there are no real ways of communication to GW from the players – for example there’s no “forum” on the GW page. But this is a quite different conversation…


      • “chaos space marines??? They HAVE a codex, a ruleset, a framework whatever which shall apply to EVERY chaos player.”

        Why should it?

        Why do you feel bound to stay within a framework that you feel is not as good as a modified framework that you could create?

        Because you’re afraid that your opponent will say no?

        Trust me, unless they’re a tournament-only type, they won’t.

        “So whenever I play with one of my opponents, I know he/she won’t cheat, as he/she follows the official codex, which should give both of us equal chances to win in the beginning!”

        There is no balance in tabletop wargaming, only the illusion of balance.


      • I know quite a few people who would walk away from that.

        Stop assuming people play house rules on the spot, alot of people either don’t have the time or the patience for it anymore unless it’s a gaming group they’ve had for a while.


  99. I’ve still been wondering why T-sons were changed from a unit with optional anti-infantry Inferno bolts to an unit forced to buy anti-meq Inferno bolts that I’d much rather do without in 5th ed. Invul saves and S&P is good enough methinks. Can anyone enlighten me?


  100. Excellent, excellent article Gav.
    Big props!


  101. I too agree with HBMC and the like-minded.
    Homebrew rules can be great but unfortunately they’re a luxury the vast majority of players simply don’t have the opportunity for.
    Demons and gifts of chaos have been an integral part of chaos since the beginning which along with the utterly boring job on the book’s fluff and colour section, I know those were never your departments, have resulted in a very undercooked product. It takes 1 step forward and at least 2 steps back.
    That being said it would all be acceptable if a codex:legions were on the way, even though like others have said that would make the current CSM obsolete since the loyalist dex still represents renegades better sadly enough.
    Unfortunately the snails pace of GW makes even this alternative all but moot, especially considering they’ve already scrapped the idea just as likely as not, in which case we the players must wait even longer but apparently we’re to blame for the predicament we’re in and not the designers.


    • “Homebrew rules can be great but unfortunately they’re a luxury the vast majority of players simply don’t have the opportunity for.”


      Most gamers play at home with their friends, or at a casual club.

      The gamers who play at Tournaments (the only environment that is going to stop you using homebrew rules make up a tiny, tiny minority of GW gamers).


      • Hey Ben, I’ve read a bunch of your comments and I respect your enthusiasm but I have to jump in on your assertion about the “majority” of games and gamers.

        You keep saying most games are not tournament style games, and most gamers will allow house rules, homebrew lists, etc. You may be right that most games are like this, but you don’t seem to be seeing the other side.

        100% of my games take place at an independent store, or in tournaments at various venues. I play pick up games with a semi-regular group of people. Now, I am sure that some of them would allow me to play my army with some tweaks. But the majority of gamers, myself included, just want to play a game or 2 after work. I don’t want to worry about balancing my piece of wargear, and my opponent doesn’t want to read my rules and decide if it’s fair or unfair. We want to play on the rare occasions we are able to. More often than not I am playing against opponents who are practicing for a tournament. We have a great, friendly scene around here and lots of casual gamers who take part (myself included). Many people play 3-5 games a month before playing 3 games in a tournament.

        Don’t get me wrong: basement gaming is the best kind of gaming there is. It generates great games, house rules, campaigns and encouraged creativity in every aspect of the hobby. Back when I had the time, the basement, and the group I enjoyed myself immensely. Now though I don’t have that kind of time.

        I like your ideals, but your “think outside the box” refrain comes off as insulting to those of us who have other things to do with their time. Did you ever consider that people who complain about the codex might not be basement gamers like you?


      • The point is that we have poured tons of cash into GW’s till specifically to have ONE set of rules that everyone can (generally) agree to play by, so that when we gather as strangers (you know, people outside of your small tightly nit group of fawning sycophants) to play, we don’t have to spend hours of tedious negotiation to agree that we’re even playing the same game.

        We paid to become tenents of a fully furnished world. To then be told that, really, the only “real” way to play is to invest further in massive home renovation defeats the entire point of “fully furnished”. And having paid for fully furnished, to then be told that all the bathrooms are unfinished, we have to rewire the dinning room ourselves if we want lights, and the living room will only have chairs if we build them ourselves… that’s just a slap in the face.

        Yay, it must be wonderful to live in your little world where you get to make it all up as you go along. Strangely, we’re not paying to play in your world, we’re paying to play in GW’s world.


      • “””your … group of fawning sycophants”””

        You turned me off treating your words with respect right there.


      • Most gamers rely on building an army list rather than skill. Infact, 60% of 40k players are angry power gamers. This is especially true for tournaments where the only objective is to win, not look good, but win legally by whatever works.

        I dislike this view point and love seeing judges dock points from people for terrible fluff to minmax an army, but this is 40k now.

        Hence why my army sits in a drawer unfinished.


    • Your respect, Ben, is worth nothing to me anyway. Keep it, hope it does you good.


      • Well cheers to you, ‘Mad Al’.


  102. Well I don’t play chaos but reading this article and many of these comments has proven very insightful. I do own both the last and current Chaos Codexies and I can say that even I found the new Chaos Codex a bit of a dissapointment.

    First, though it’s been said before I think it’s important enough to say again, not all people have the same attitude as you Gav nor a gaming group as flexible. It would be fantastic if that were the case but I don’t know many if any people at my local hobby shops that would just be OK with throwing a Bassilisk into an Iron Warriors army, fluff or no fluff.

    The rules need to be the rules because well… they are the rules. Yes this is a hobby and it’s nice when players take their own creative initiative to do interresting and wonderful things, but at the same time it’s a game that needs balanced and clearly defined rules. The Legion lists in the old Codex were fantastic in my opinion, restricting yes but they also opened up four very different and unique playing styles and army compositions, but because they were restricted from each other it meant that abuse was harder. Now people can throw some Plague Marines in with a Tzeentch Lord and some Khorn Berserkers just for kicks while the Iron Warriors player gets to stare at his poor Bassilisks collecting dust on the shelf.

    I also agree with an earlier sentiment that the focus should have been on the Chaos Legions, most if not all Chaos players I’ve run into are fans of the Legions and play one of the primary four or if not one of the other five. I’ve run into very few “Renegades” players and the Renegades wargear and tactics really aren’t well reflected with the C:CSM even with all the emphasis on them. The change in direction left many Legion players feeling forgotten and left behind particularly as many also had models and sometimes even whole armies that were now worthless and/or illegal. The new Codex may allow for a lot of diversity, more than the old but it has created a lot of resentment in veteran Chaos players that could have been avoided fairly easily.

    I also have to say that more balance with certain units and rules could have made a huge difference, Lash in particular is just a royal pain that irritates and frustrates a very large number of gamers. As mentioned before Tau can’t counter it, Orks have a hard time countering it, gunline armies in general have a tough time dealing with it. In my opinion it isn’t even a very sophisticated or interresting tactical tool, just a way to piss off your opponent and screw with him in a way that’s unfair and mean.

    Though the power I absolutely hate is “Gift of Chaos.” While maybe not likely to be used very often it is a power that can turn a fun and challenging game into a ruined day in one fell swoop. I can’t see how anybody likes seeing their heroic tabletop representation vanish without even a chance to defend themselves. It sucks, it just plain sucks, going down blade swinging, gun blasting is one thing but for a chaos player to just go “I roll a dice and… he’s gone” is just no fun at all.

    Finally the new Chaos Space Marine Codex just seemed… bland. I couldn’t believ my eyes when I read the Daemon Prince entry, a few spells, the different marks and… that’s it. No wargear, no weapons, no character. Lack of Cult Terminators, lack of Cult specific units and special rules other than the most basic Cult Troops and a single new swiss-army-knife renegade Lord. It seemed little consolation for the unique and characterfull flavors of Chaos that were now lost.

    So like I said I’m not a chaos player, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about. But I’ll just finish with this, if I don’t play the army and have no real investment in it and even I was dissapointed and dismayed with the new Codex then… well that says something now doesn’t it?


  103. i agree completely with many of the opinions about the next dex in a negative manor. the current dex took the old dex and neutered it. renegades are all well and good but legions who have been around since the time of the emperor are not suddenly mere bands of roaming renegades is insulting. fluff and legions are the reason i got into chaos and basically they were taken away and thrown into a stinky toilet. with the previous codex i thoroughly enjoyed the vast amount of options that made it special and different from regular marines. i chose nightlords for fluff and their special legion rules. now… GONE and i sold off my lovingly modeled nightlords models after trying to use them with the new dex and just not enjoying it. now when i do play chaos its only in apocalypse and with emperors childen datasheet with a full sonic weapon list, marks, etc.. its the only time i can actually play with fluff and theme rather then the only difference being paint scheme.


  104. Perhaps C:CSM 3.5 was in need of a tidy up for 4th Ed, I could broadly agree with that. Unfortunately instead of a tidy up a scotched earth policy was applied and what fell out the other end wasn’t great with the retirement of four distinctive armies.

    You said that C:CSM 3.5 was restrictive. Sure, only one army could take more than three Obliterators for example. You reduced their toughness and took away half their loadout and gave them to everyone. Ditto for Raptors which lost Hit & Run along with Daemonic Visage. You took away these restricted units appeal and make it freely available to all? This is like making all wine fruit juice and wondering why the champagne crowd are unhappy that all can now partake.

    The only way that I can swallow this codex is to keep in mind it was designed for 4th Ed and had about a year of life before 5th Ed came out. At best this leaves gamers with a codex that was watered down for a mere one year of play under 4th Ed and now looking very poor against 5th Ed stuff like the new Guard and the upcoming Space Wolves codexes. It was not built to stand the test of time and now we’re more than likely stuck with it for a long time to come.


  105. Wow… Just wow.
    I’m amazed at a lot of these responses. It’s a HOBBY, not JUST a game. Too many people focus on the gaming aspect of it and it’s just sad.
    Even if you do just focus on the game, the OBJECT of it is to win, but the whole POINT is to HAVE FUN.
    Well said Gav.


    • Very true, the main point is to have fun.
      But what is fun for you may not be fun for alot of other people, for them simply playing the game with a balanced fun and interesting army and winning may be what gives them the most fun and now they cannot have that fun anymore, wouldnt you be annoyed then ?
      It is dangerous to say people should just have fun as fun is a very broad and varied term.


  106. My favorite time to be a Warhammer 40,000 player was during 4th edition. Especially when the Eye of Terror supplement came out. I took one look at the Lost and the Damned section and immediately set about scouring my extensive bits box. I managed to build a hundred and fifty Mutants, then took to using a combination of Mutants, Daemons and Chaos Space Marines on the battlefield. my regular opponents at the time played 3,000 point battles with two force organization charts. That was a true chaos horde. I would spend a week poring over my army list, wondering exactly what I would field next time.
    Then, fifth edition came out and the latest chaos space marines codex and I felt betrayed. The rules were incoherent, badly presented and so badly open to abuse that I was sorely tempted to take all my 40K stuff out in the back yard and torch it.
    I will not be satisfied until an entirely new edition of 40K is released that fixes all of its current problems (“True” line of sight/Wound allocation!?!) and a proper Codex Chaos is released. It must be a weighty tome, somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 pages, with Traitor Legions, Post-Heresy renegade Space Marines, Mutants, Plague Zombies, Traitor Guard, the full panoply of Daemons as well as Traitor Mechanicus and masses of relevant fluff. Until then, I’m done.


    • “It must be a weighty tome, somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 pages, with Traitor Legions, Post-Heresy renegade Space Marines, Mutants, Plague Zombies, Traitor Guard, the full panoply of Daemons as well as Traitor Mechanicus and masses of relevant fluff.”

      You do realise that a 300 page Codex would cost at least £30, if not more?

      Who’s going to buy that, other than someone who is already invested in the game?

      Taking that tack, then pPretty soon, no more new blood would mean no more Games Workshop.

      Incidentally, I’m going to break down your list of things you’d like to have:

      Traitor Legions – Alpha Legion already have a list (Imperial Armour V), and I trust that other Legions will get their lists in time.

      Renegade CSM – Have the current Codex.

      Mutants and Plague Zombies – See the Nurgle Traitors list in Imperial Armour VII.

      Traitor Guard – See the Traitor Guard list in Imperial Armour V.

      Full range of Daemons – See the Daemons Codex.

      Traitor Adeptus Mechanicus – See Imperial Armour VII, which has lots of Traitor Mechanicus Daemon Engines and Traitor Mechanicus Titans.

      “Masses of fluff***” – See Imperial Armour V, VI and VII for some great background on Nurgle and Khornate traitors, and Nurgle and Khornate CSM (including Legion-specific Special Characters), many hundreds of pages of it in fact.

      So the greater majority of what you’re asking for is already available, with more to come in time, doubtless.

      No it’s not all in one Codex that is sold in GW stores, but Codexes must be accessable to newbies, and that means keeping their page counts reasonable and their price within reach of a pocket-money budget.

      You can’t put a 300+ page Codex to go on sale in GW stores and not want to actively hurt the company.

      ***You use the word fluff?? Really???

      the full panoply of Daemons as well as Traitor Mechanicus and masses of relevant fluff.


      • Oh and if you want to ally all the different lists I referred to above, agree with your opponent that you can, or play Apocalypse where it explicitly says that you can.

        Take some ownership of your hobby!


      • You know i think the guy was being a little bit sarcastic 😉


      • But you do understand that outside of UK specially there where are strong W40k/WFB comunities [like more or less whole europe specially central and eastern], but no GW shopes , the number of people actually owning IA stuff is really small and even then everything in it is not official .


      • There has always been a dichotomy in wargames. There is the hobby and the game.

        The hobby refers to the painting, modeling, converting, and overall aesthetic excesses of wargaming. There is no FOC to worry about. There are no ‘broken’ rules to exploit. One may tout their artistic and creative successes without ever dealing with the problems CSM players have with the latest Codex.

        The game encourages one to achieve success by accomplishing an objective while following the restrictions afforded them and their opponents.

        The gamer; which can of course be a master hobbyist in his own right as well and vice versa; must deal with the set of rules and guidelines so that they are all playing the very game they showed up expecting too. Obviously, Mr. Skinner, ambiguities must be cleared up, wargear must be explained, and other minutia require clearing up prior to the start of every table-top battle. But whether time is tight, or you are unfamiliar with the player standing opposite a game board from you, etc. etc., the idea of “changing point costs” and essentially throwing the rules out the window are unappealing to most. Do I play-test inventive details and make use of house rules with my close gaming buddies? YES. But do I expect peers at a local gaming store to trust me not to cheat them and have an enjoyable experience while they face my ‘willy-nilly skinner marines’? I give an emphatic, No.

        For all the many reasons outlined above ad nauseum, in this post and in others, we have the rules provided by a trusted source. Whether GW produces a great product or a crappy one, their rule sets are credible and create a medium for the game we play. This is true even when there is ambiguity because at least the rules were created by a non-bias third party.

        We’ll get creative and paint pretty minis, but we demand exhaustive, clear, and most of all, FUN rules to play with.


      • You must realize the absurdity of moaning that nobody would buy a £30 Chaos Codex, and then suggesting that all the Chaos players resort to purchasing multiple £30+ Imperial Armour books.


      • “””You must realize the absurdity of moaning that nobody would buy a £30 Chaos Codex, and then suggesting that all the Chaos players resort to purchasing multiple £30+ Imperial Armour books.”””

        Codexes have to be both for beginners and for experienced players.

        Imperial Armour books only have to be for experienced players.

        As I mentioned earlier, I’ve no doubt that long-term Chaos players would be happy to buy a 300 page £30 Codex… but no newbies would consider it.

        So I see no contradiction at all in what I said.


  107. Just wanted to say that I don’t mind the play style of the new CSm dex and competely agree with Gav’s statement on the fact that Space Marines are seperate from Guard so why can’t the Daemons be seperate, the only thing I think that would need to be done to fix this problem for CSM codex to is to have a proper FAQ to state that both of these teams may be allied but must adhere to one single FOChart.

    Alos I agree with the fact that so many people get caught up crazy with saying must stick to codex units only. I think GW need to push more on the fact that the game is a guideline for how you want to play your army, in saying that yes I would also allow an Iron Warrior to bring basalisks.

    Unfortunately alot of players don’t get/understand this and so refuse to play armies like the above that people play.

    I would like to see GW put more emphasis on making your army unique and allow more of the old set up of CSM and other armies that could do this (using current rules editions), in thier stores to show and encourage players to do this once they are set in the hobby.


    • But the difference is , if you want to use Sisters of Battle or space marines with an imperial guard army you can do it legally without counts as. you just take the codex Witch Hunters or Demon hunters. With those you can even have arbites and assasins in a space marine or imperial guard army. The same thing is not possible with demons and chaos space marines. Besides If I am to ask for permision to use house rules , I may as well ask to use the old chaos dex . Why would I want to bother with the new one , if it gives nothing to a non BL player or someone who doesnt want to run a counts as army ?


  108. I really enjoyed reading the article. I’d greatly appreciate if more people ‘in the loop’ at GW did this, since this article, JJ’s White Dwarf musings and the like make the hobby seem a lot more inclusive. They also illustrate the kind of work and effort that goes into the development of the games.

    I’ve found that The Space Marines and Imeperial Guard codexes have been a great step forward. The degree of background, the variety of lists you can create, and the overall production of the books felt far more ‘professional’ than before.

    It seems the current Chaos codex is…controversial. But then, that means that people feel strongly, and will really warm toward a re-do if it’s done properly.


  109. interesting….
    i have some question for you gav…. if your idea of the codex was that, why the hell this codex is so spineless?
    ok, i have to admit that the previous codex had too many option that could be conbined…. in some aspects had too many variants, but the actual codex stinks!
    i mean, the rouls arent so bad, but the chaos have lost his halo…. all the armis are the same!

    i have lots of alpha legion friends that have lost the interest in playng, same with the world bearers…. and i, as a night lord, can tell you that i feel really bad…. because my army dosent exist anymore!!!!
    i have tried to represent the fast and sneekylike legion whit the CSM codex…. but isn’t really fun to play… i mean, winning isn’t so importat, but i wont to last til the last turn and not be vaporized in 3 turns

    and let me tell you: some “new unit” are totaly useless… caos spawn and possessed marine….. the first suks with no good point, the second ones were a interesting choise in 4th ediction…. now they are a waste of point (is really sad, the models are the coolest thig in the caos army)

    anyway, i’m really tierd about complainig, so i’ll tell you what i’d like to se in the next one (i know, probably you’ll not work on that…. but i’d like to hear your opinion 🙂 )

    first of all: new special character! space marine have a lot of them… why we can’t? cold be interesting to see a night lord chaos lord whit jump-pack or something like that…. there are a lot of player that dosent follow any chaos cult, and we would like to be considered

    second one: DREADCLAW!!!!! ok, it would be too much, but is a wery cool model, and with the imperial guard codex we saw a lot of forgeworld model =)
    i think that a dreadclaw only for dreadnoughts cold be possible…. i hope so

    third one: a chaos land rider…. everybody seems to have their variant…. we don’t

    fourth one: some fast attack choise! i don’t know what, but the chaos codex seems to be an only heavy support…. i need some fast choise! i like to change my army list evry month…. with the actual codex isn’t so easy…

    ok, thanks for reading…. and sorry for my bad(really bad) eanglish


  110. I have some thoughts on this

    First off, thanks for setting out your thoughts. Interesting to hear from the horse’s mouth. Not sure I agree with all of it though.

    I think there are two distinct ways to criticise the chaos codex. One is to say that there are mistakes, such as units being over/underpowered or rules that don’t make sense. The other is to talk about the “flavour” of the book, like whether daemons should be allowed in their full form, whether some form of “trait” system should be allowed. The first is a matter of competence, the second is a matter of choice.

    My impression of the chaos codex is that it has problems on both scores. I think the mistakes are bigger problems. Rules writers should always get totally uninitiated people, preferably people who don’t play the game at all, and see if the rules make sense to them. GW fails to do this and the result is countless arguments over the rules. Then, there needs to be a FAQ service worthy of the name, which there currently is not.

    To set that in context, when 4th ed dnd came out there was a large errata and faq published on the day of release (admittedly there were a hell of a lot of mistakes). GW typically takes not much under a year to produce a couple of pages, produced outside the studio rather than by the codex’s writers and never quite answering all the questions. This is simply not good enough.

    Secondly in terms of balance there are further mistakes in the codex. Possessed are rubbish, berzerkers and plague marines are great – overshadowing the basic CSMs who should be the standard core unit. I could give other examples but there’s no real point.

    Now, I am a very hardcore tournament player so my perceptions may not be the same as everyone else’s, but actually I think the tournament crowd is pretty much misunderstood by the developers and they could benefit from talking to us sometimes.

    Here’s the thing: you can only mess up the tournament environment to a certain extent with bad rules. We’re ready for it and we can use them outselves anyway. Bad rules don’t actually spoil tournaments because we prepare our own proper FAQs and house rules. We can work around the problems you create and ultimately it doesn’t matter if everyone is fielding two lash princes because we’re all on an even playing field. Instead, bad rules spoil casual play.

    Casual play is when you show up at your GW, games club or wherever for a game against somebody you don’t know. Bad rules mean you have to either waste a bunch of time clarifying all the mistakes in the codexes and coming to some kind of agreement, or risk having an argument. Bad rules mean there’s a difference between a “fluffy” army and a “competitive” army – because if the rules were any good they would be the same thing. Somebody might complain, with some justification, that it’s not entirely fluffy for somebody to have a slaanesh sorceror in a unit of khorne berzerkers, for example, and they might just have a point. But you absolutely can do that, and thanks to bad rules that make a lash sorceror one of the cheapest and best HQs available to a chaos player, people do.

    The irritating thing about these mistakes is that they appear obvious. For instance, the first time I read the rules for lash of submission I did a double take and read it two more times before I could believe what it said. Up to that point I was actually very happy with the codex, which is a very significant improvement over the previous version. However, it doesn’t take much at all to spoil an otherwise good book.

    I think the key issue is proof-reading and playtesting. Seeing some of the mistakes that get through it is plain to me that these processes are not adequate at this time. Further to that, GW currently has no way of actually fixing a problem if one does come up, other than to totally bin the book and write a new one. A reprint of the chaos codex, perhaps rather like the ones done for dark eldar and dark angels a few years ago, could fix a lot of the errors and perhaps introduce a little more flavour. Not very many changes would actually be needed. That’s what should be done (with the changes published online and in white dwarf so people didn’t necessarily have to spend money because of your mistakes) and then you would have a book you could justifiably be proud of.


  111. I have no problem with the current codex, and think it works fine. Many people think Pete Haines’ codex was too powerful anyway. CSM are still rock hard in my opinion; my daemon prince eats Wolf Lords for fun! I was a bit miffed that there weren’t any god-specific daemns in there initially, but I soon found that I didn’t have any room for them anyway! Pretty fair effort Mr Thorpe – I speak as a CSM player of nearly two decades experience; the codex is fine.


  112. In my local crowd of gamers the general attitude toward the rules of any individual codex is mostly positive. I know with the Chaos Marine book the biggest complaint was that the army seemed to loss alot of flavor that it had originally had. This is mostly due to the extreme change in how the book was organized and not actually in the reduction of rules. The inclusion of legion specific generals that would allow legion style armies would have been helpful I think. Such as Iron Warriors, etc.


  113. I can sort of see your viewpoint about how there are hordes of imperial troops like arbiters, sisters of battle, assassins, etc that can’t be taken in a space marine army. In their respective codexes there are rules for using all of these things in a space marine army, and I can guess that you might have assumed that the writer of Deamons book would have used similar rules there… but since you didn’t write the demons book, I guess we won’t know why it was done the way it was. (I’m not sure that anyone thinks that generic demons sound like an interesting idea for a player or his opponent?)

    From my viewpoint this codex only worked at removing options from the chaos players, instead of expanding them. I am seeing your viewpoint of how it is intended to expand options for the renegade chaos space marine players. For non-cultist armies I can see that that was a success. And from what your saying it sounds like your assumptions were that there would be expansions to re-create the various options for the other chaos players.

    In case its not clear, before I get to my question, I think I should explain what was removed from my viewpoint: There is no way to build a thematic (fluff based) cultist army list using the new codex. Its not a matter of the bells and whistles, but the new codex has very clear abilities and statistics for cultist models, and those are only in the troop options (other than a few named characters). At least in much earlier codexes when there were no separate cultist models in the army list, we were free to do what we want. Now we are very restricted. This takes away a large amount of appeal of the chaos space marine armies to me and others in my area. I’m sure I’d have been upset as well if some new background had been retroactively invented to make the members of cultist armies not all infected/converted, etc, maybe some new background to explain the effects of the icons so at least people could still build thematic cultist lists. But that wasn’t done either.

    The other thing that was removed was that this codex made the ‘Lost and the Damned’ army obsolete.

    While you may have thought there would be expansions for the cultist armies, as customers we are continuously told that this always depends on many development schedules, and that there is no certainty on when an expansion will happen or even if an expansion will happen. I would like to know what thought processes were involved in removing all these armies with an uncertain date to add them back into the game again?


  114. This was a really interesting article gav, and maybe when your done with your latest book what would be good would be to hear what the limitations were that you had on you at the time. You mention them in passing but I think just describing one or two would be of great interest. Personally, I fall in the former category of really enjoying this book as i feel that I can switch and change my Chaos theme as i wish without being strictly tied to one defined setup for each legion, but I understand why others prefer the more rule-centric approach.

    I feel the area the book fell down on was that due to the space consideration and also marketing, what the book needed was about 10 colour pages showing clearly how old armies had been adapted to the new rules which would have helped immensely. You know, a picture of a thousand army with terminators with a mark of Tzeetch etc.


  115. “You do realise that a 300 page Codex would cost at least £30, if not more?

    Who’s going to buy that, other than someone who is already invested in the game?”

    The North Africa supplement for Flames of War was just released at about that price and people pay for it to be able to play mid-war armies. If the chaos codex were indeed as comprehensive as suggested I have no doubt players would do so with it as well given the opportunity to build an army from one of *nine* possible legions as well as renegades, mutants, etc. JMO though.


    • The target demographic is very different for Flames of War, and doesn’t compare well, IMHO.


      • So you think historical gamers are willing to pay more for their supplements than fantasy/sci-fi gamers? Based only on the players of both I’ve met over the years the exact opposite has held true in almost every instance.


      • It’s 40k, most people will pay hundreds for garbage anyway.


  116. I see the whining, and wonder why Gav bothered to post in the first place.

    Did he expect to change anybody’s mind?

    Did he not expect the whiners to come out in force?

    Was he bored, and needed a good troll to take people’s minds off of 9/11?


  117. @ Nahri

    “Is there anything wrong with that? I mean, is the challenge to defeat your opponent not one of the many thrills that makes 40k the exciting hobby that it is?”

    Continuing with the Tau example then, Tau (and Orks too) have no access to any form of psychic defense or any quick way to kill a Chaos Lord in a well-populated. As has been stated the ‘counters’ to Lash (mech your whole army [except that Crisis Suits don’t have a transport and doing Fire Warrior spam against T5 3+sv FNP troops isn’t actually a great idea]/line of sight/kill the lash user) are insanely difficult to pull off before the Lash (which is range 24 on a character that can move 12″ every turn) slaughters you. ONE casting of Lash can either put you in charge range of a Raptor or CSM squad OR put you in a nice little tight circle for plasma cannons/Vindicators.

    So please enlighten me about the counter to this in an exciting or thrilling way.

    This isn’t a criticism limited to Gav Thrope as every recent codex has had its fair share of stupid harebrained broken crap that certain older armies can’t hold a candle to (Psychic Choir, 3+ inv Assault Marines, etc.). But that doesn’t free Gav from responsibility. Every new thing that goes into a codex should have a chart next to it that reads ‘How does this affect racial matchups?’ That’s the professional thing to do. That’s the way GWS could do right by their entire fanbase, rather than the people who are having a codex released at that moment.

    But that (along with so many other things described in these posts) is exactly what Gav did NOT do. And combined with the removal of most of Chaos’ other good options results in competitive Chaos armies relying on the Lash bludgeon and cheap Princes to stay in the game. Whereas Gav wants to portray this codex as a blank slate for flexible players, Gav’s Chaos Codex really just encourages the homogenization of Chaos armies.


  118. So many comments – and most of them right on one level or another.

    What people do not really understand here is that ‘gamer culture’ greatly influences a lot of how people approach not only the GW hobby but any wargames hobby. GW is just one of the biggest of the sort.

    However – and it’s a big however – while things like ‘counts as’ and the like are nice (and useful) the rules MUST be the rules. Outside of a game in your living room or Apocalypse, you cannot simply say: “I’m Iron Warriors and I’m taking a Basilisk”. Really? What’s the point cost for that? Use the Guard one. But does it have Guard BS? What about balance? Can I take a squadron of them?

    Yes, some players will be fine with making up such things as needed, but you cannot go outside your house or perhaps games club and use them. Those people do not know you or trust you and yes, sadly, in such a big hobby people do cheat. Or just make mistakes, or what have you. And no, this isn’t just about tournaments – it applies any time you play someone new for the first time.

    Years ago, I was invited to play with some folks I knew at a friend’s place. This is back in the days of Rogue Trader (v1) and the old ‘Battle Manual’ which had just came out. I asked “Are we using the Battle Manual?” and was told yes. This was good as it cleared up a lot of muddy things in the game.

    So we’re playing along and I say, “I’m going to fire on that guy there”.

    “You can’t, you can’t see him.”

    “What are you talking about, he’s right there!”

    “That building is in the way.”

    “No it’s not. It’s only half a building (it was a ruin) and he’s not obscured at all. He’s not in it, he’s well behind it – there’s nothing in the way.”

    “Nope, it counts as intervening terrain, you can’t fire.”

    “That’s not in the rules anywhere.”

    “It’s how we play here.”

    So, with some frustration, I suck it up and get on with the game. Later, “I’ll fire at that Eldar Heavy weapon there.”

    “You can’t, intervening terrain.”

    “Wha? It’s not behind anything, it’s up against a hill.”

    “Yes but there’s that little divot in the hill, it’s in there. So you can’t fire.”

    “Wha? The hill is shorter than the model, the model isn’t in the divot and can’t be. The divot is only about a quarter the size of the model!”

    “Intervening terrain, can’t fire.”

    I shut up, steam about to shoot out my ears. A bit later:

    “I’ll fire my tank at that Land Raider.”

    “Nope intervening terrain.”

    “WHAT intervening terrain?”

    “It’s behind that bush, you can’t fire.”

    “Wait a LAND RAIDER the size of a HOUSE is hiding behind a BUSH less than half an inch tall?”

    “Yes, any terrain is considered intervening.”

    “It shot over it last turn at me!”

    “That’s different. Different phase.”

    “Aaaaaggggghhhhhh! Fine. I’ll just ask from now on what I can see every time I want to fire. Your line of sight rules I cannot figure out at all.”

    Had my army not made up a 3rd of our side I’d have picked up my models and walked away after that Land Raider thing. I stuck it out but I never played with them again. It’s an extreme example, but it really happened. That’s what can happen with ‘House Rules.’

    But let’s talk another example. This one closer to Gav’s point. In v2 I had a (completely game legal) signature character. A guard commander with a bodyguard of guys with powerswords and plasma pistols, hardened fighters, nasty wargear on the Colonel etc. etc. Fragile as hell if shot at, but amazing in hand to hand. All done with the ‘dex at the time.

    With v3, the entire unit became illegal. I painted a different command unit and didn’t field them any longer. After years of playing this guy, writing fiction about him, converting and painting models etc. I just couldn’t roll with completely dumping everything that he was on the tabletop. So I created another character and moved on.

    We used to organize these huge Apocalypse style games (long before Apoc came out) and for them we allowed special characters. My best friend wrote a set of rules for the Colonel and his lads. He was still mean, fragile as hell and he and his four bodyguards in flak armor cost as much as a Land Raider. I was eventually convinced to play them using those rules and they were, in fact, pretty balanced.

    One player just had a FIT when he found this out. Raved about how unfair it was etc. etc. Why couldn’t he make up rules for a supercharacter etc. etc. I explained that *I* didn’t write the rules and had been resistant to using them for exactly those reasons but was talked into it – but it didn’t matter. Then he obliterated the entire unit in one round of fire from a group of bog standard Dire Avengers. So much for ‘supercharacter’. After that he sort of grudgingly admitted that maybe it was balanced.

    These are the kinds of reasons why you cannot simply ‘ignore what’s in your Codex.’ People just don’t take it well. It removes the common ground of the rules of the game and, while it can work with some folks, there are also those who abuse it, badly.

    What’s more, people want their characters and units on the table to be able to have the option of being ‘a bit different’. It might be a small thing, like a bionic leg or some cool armor or a neat gun or what have you – but people WANT individuality in their characters and, on the table top, that only comes of rules, statlines and equipment. When there are few to no choices, people don’t feel that their character is theirs. People look at the codex and say “Kai gun, that’s cool!” and create an inspired conversion for it. That improves the hobby.

    Giving someone an awesome axe and saying, it’s just a power weapon isn’t something to inspire much in the player’s imagination. Individualism – something special which makes the unit yours – is nice if reflected in the rules. It doesn’t have to be hyper powerful, it could be barely noticeable, in fact but the fact that it is THERE mades your character something uniquely yours. Increases identification, builds stories.

    The old chaos codex managed this. The new one fails at it. Most of the newer ‘dexs do to some extent but at least he can be a ‘counts as’ Lysander or something and so still have some relevance.

    It was courageous of you to face the ‘net Gav, but things didn’t work out well and there doesn’t seem to be even rumours of a Legion ‘dex. However the fluff writing in the current book is really good – but the lack of options is just not great, and the fact that the newer ‘dexes got away from that philosophy and were much better received would seem to indicate that wasn’t the direction that the customers wanted to go, which may explain the change.

    Mike M.


    • “One player just had a FIT when he found this out. Raved about how unfair it was etc. etc. Why couldn’t he make up rules for a supercharacter etc. etc.

      These are the kinds of reasons why you cannot simply ‘ignore what’s in your Codex.’ People just don’t take it well. It removes the common ground of the rules of the game and, while it can work with some folks, there are also those who abuse it, badly.”

      This is the *EXACT* reason why it is so difficult to play the way Gav suggests. While it may be fine in a club where everyone knows each other, even then you may find someone who can’t stomach your idea and thus quashes it for the entire group. While I personally don’t mind playing homegrown ideas, it appears there is a segment of the gaming population who will go to almost any lengths to avoid doing so and worse, prevent others from being able to do so as well. *THAT* is why Gav’s method usually doesn’t work out all that well. Great in theory, but certain people make it rubbish in practice.


  119. First off, I have to give you credit for writing this article. Although I do not agree with some of the things you say I do appreciate hearing your point of view. I think it is a refreshing change from the “black box” that GW can tend to be.

    I also recognize that there were likely a number of people and factors behind the preparation and writing of the current CSM codex and that the people calling for your head on a spike (I had to throw something “chaos” in here) were being a bit extreme. Putting your head on a chopping block in front of the forces of Chaos with this article takes courage.

    That said, I am not a fan of the resulting product for many reasons which have already been identified by other postings. The biggest issue I have with version 4.0 as compared to 3.5 is that the current codex is simply boring.

    I started 40K with 4th Ed and chose Chaos 3.5 out of all the other armies because of the fluff and variety it offered — both in modelling and gameplay. I was not a power gamer or tournament player at the time and that has not changed now. However, I have played with the new codex for some time now and, while I can put together a powerful list that wins games, I find it bland in comparison to the options that existed before. The fact that codex 4.0 came out while the Horus Heresy series was gearing up and followed by subsequent codexes (e.g., Orks and C:SM) that appeared to directly contradict the “streamlined” justifications for the Chaos codex made the differences even harder to take.

    I think you can understand why there are many issues that Chaos players like myself have with the codex.

    While there may be legion army books released in the future, I’ll believe it when I see it. The existence of other armies that have been lacking an updated codex for years now makes me wonder if legion-specific books for the legions I used to be able to play will be released in my hobby lifetime.


  120. Gav,
    Been playing GW games for 19yrs and found your article very insightful. You speak to many of the issues I have with the American gaming community today – they’re so overly focused on RTTs/GTs and rules restrictions that they forget to have fun with the game. I’m still working to counter this culture and to that end I’ve been putting together my own updated version of the Genestealer Cult (perhaps with Ogryn hybrids!) and a Rogue Trader army not unlike the WFB DoW list (which I still use!). In the meantime, I’ll keep myself preoccupied waging a incessant Waaagh! against the Death Guard in my weekly slugfest 🙂
    – Tim


  121. “Whereas Gav wants to portray this codex as a blank slate for flexible players, Gav’s Chaos Codex really just encourages the homogenization of Chaos armies.”



  122. I think a lot of frustration would have been avoided if the Chaos Deamon Codex included a section specifying that CSM players could take units from the codex as ally units (similar to the DH and WH allied rule).

    I know i would have been happy ;p


  123. Eh, it feels kinda pointless to chime in at this juncture. I’m sure Gav will have grown tired and possibly irked by now, but in the offchance you get get to read this I hope to find some understanding to the 4.0 Chaos Codex :).

    On the legion issue…yeah I am Thousand Sons fan, slightly upset at the loss of legions rules…I got over it. Thats hardly the issue with this codex, legion rules were bound to come again anyway. The only thing I don’t understand is how this codex became so unbalanced in some areas.

    I applaud you sir for cleaning the mass confusion that was 3.5…at times it was a nightmare introducing new players to the 3.5 codex. The new book was what was expected, streamlined, easy to figure out, and along the lines of the Blood/Dark Angel list (sad you guys caught the tail-end of this new design philoshy 😉 ) In my eyes, the codex was great except that it really couldn’t be called “balanced”. One key trait in codex design is to see a solid set of unit choices where players find themselves with a wide array of choices, not one exceeding in power over another (at best, trying to avoid this). Thus helping to tone down “default” choices and power-list armies that always seem to crop up.

    The newest Eldar codex, for example, geared toward making certain units look snazzy again(swooping hawks), thus pushing toward more use and making sure that no unit is left collecting dust.

    I admit once upon a time I was a powerlist builder in my early days, since then I’ve grown up and realised what’s more important in this hobby. I bring that up because I still have an eye for lists, I know what to look for. I saw a codex with some very unbalanced unit choices.

    Despite the beautiful models, spawn, possessed, and dreadnaughts are rarely seen because of unit choices that exceed them. Obliterators, plague marines, and lash are the common units seen. I won’t go into details (unless you want me to, I’m sure you’ve heard and know enough about it). Why was the power level so unequal in these units/abilities? Shouldn’t a good codex feature a list where every unit looks juicy and fun with only minor power unbalances? (which is only bound to happen…nothing is perfect)

    The Blood Angel, Dark Angel, Orks, Space Marines, and new Imperial Guard all have lovely lists with almost every unit being fun/viable choices. The Daemon codex is by far a work of pure genius and I applaud your work on that one sir, but it seems the Chaos Space Marines codex had a massive hiccup in the unit/power/balance department. Was this known or was the codex rushed? What happened there? Khorne berzerkers are way better choices than possessed, the dread got worse from the previous edition for what reason? Shouldn’t lash cost more in points? Shouldn’t spawn be significantly cheaper? Havocs still pale in comparison to the swissarmyknife that are obliterators.

    I know you might say “change it toward what fits!”. This is what I would like to believe in too…but unfortunately it doesn’t always work like that. “Miss America, what do you want?” “World Peace!”. 🙂 Ehh…people buy codex’s because their “comfortable”. What I mean is: I can write my own rules…but I have to explain to my opponent the changes, the why’s, the how’s, and this can be time consuming. This may work for a small group but not a large gaming community, especially near military bases where people come and go. A lot of people are comfortable with company-built rules, its like some sort of security blanket/official stamp.

    I hope to hear back from you, I hope I stayed civil, no offence was intended.

    Thanks Gav!


  124. Personally I like the Chaos Marine Codex, and I’m happy with the pantheist warband I’ve developed. As to some of the above comments, I disagree that Chaos Marine armies are now homogenized, certainly my army with it’s differing colour schemes is anything but. Similarly why Khorne Daemon princes may have few options, so what? They’re not meant to have options, they’re meant to beat the living s**t out of the enemy before consigning his soul to fiery dammnation.


    • We aren’t talking about paint schemes, we’re talking about army structure.

      Yeah um the problem with that is that Khorne is actually the worst close combat Prince because it doesn’t have access to Warptime (rerolling failed hits AND wounds >>>>>> one bonus attack). If you’re taking a Khorne Prince you’re shooting yourself in the foot. So the lack of options is actually a bad thing! Taking a Khorne Prince is shooting yourself in the foot, even if you didn’t realize it before.


  125. I loved the background and the way the book portrays CSM armies as something other than those who turned from the Emperor 10,000 years past. Recently ‘turned’ loyalist Marines? Nice.

    Accusations of homogenisation are fair as, by doing this, the book opened up options for more, and different, books. Does it breed similarity? My experience would suggest not. [elg] Edinburgh League of Gamers ran a 14-player tournament on the 12th September. FOUR armies used the Chaos Space Marines Codex; while they shared some elements, none were identical. (One was a particularly lovely Iron Warriors army: http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/index.php?showtopic=178383&st=0#entry2109188)


    • Did you actually look at the list you posted?! If you didn’t look again: http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/index.php?showtopic=178383&st=0#entry2109188)

      The units used, regardless of what the player named or painted them as, were: 1) Winged Prince with Warptime; 2) two Termicide squads; and 3) multiple Obliterator Squads.

      You silly goose, you proved the point that everyone who dislikes the codex is trying to make! The point they are screaming time and time again is that there are limited competitive choices, few options, and an overall blandness to the armies one can build from the codex. The very fact that the above “Iron Warriors” list is identical to my “Heresy Thousand Sons” list is apalling. They are all the same.

      “[Your] experience suggest[s it does!]”


      • “You silly goose” – heh heh, I love that turn of phrase.

        While you’re correct in the composition of that army, I did say there were four – and that none were identical. Just a bad example I suppose 🙂


  126. Ok Ive been playing 40K for 15 odd years (2nd ed).
    I dont have any problems with the new CSM codex it just does not motivate me to play.
    In fact since it came out I have played 2 games and have lost complete interest in playing 40K.

    Also in the entire time ive been playing 40K my favourite unit in the game was the bloodthirster and he was ALWAYS an option in a chaos marine army. So saying that daemons and chaos marines were not in the same army since 2nd ed Is blatently wrong.


    • I completely agree and feel the same way.

      It was 1995 as I started on it. However, it only put me off Chaos – 40k still is an interest although I am missing the real Chaos as I used to know it – so it is not the same 40k any more.

      Are we growing old?


  127. Sorry that it’s off-topic, but I’ve noticed half a dozen people using dreadnoughts wrong. In the case of Fire Frenzy, the dread pivots to shoot the nearest visible unit, not what is in the LoS of its guns at the beginning of the turn.

    And if you don’t believe:


  128. Has Gav responded yet? I’m interested to hear what he has to say but i may have missed it in the spleen 😀


  129. Gav, I’ll be frank:

    Lash of Submission: Seriously….what were you thinking? Broken AND unfluffy. If it had been a case of it taking effect if the unit in question failed a morale check, that would have been entirely reasonable. As it is, it’s a pointlessly silly power.

    Codex: Daemons: Eh? Daemons…on their own? Since the only time you see pure daemon armies, in fluff, is when a planet is about to die, and the fact that the army goes from useless to unstoppable with no middle ground….


  130. Thank you for the open words Gav!

    I don´t like the current Codex CSM. For me it appears like a quickshot. Oh we have to make a new C:CSM (without real demons, ´cause we make a own book for them so maybe we can sell some more of the miniatures).

    Okay the Demon-Part is reduced to some generic stuff. We can still live with that, but some options to make them feel slaaneshi or khornate might be useful. A simple options for Icons might have done it in the (poorly) way of the current codex. We use our greater Deamon Models for the generic ones. You KNOW that a bloodthirster has wings – so why no Option for this? All for the hope to sell some more with the finer stat-lines in codex: cd?

    “While they did introduce some cool new options (which I’ll get back to later) the majority of those sub-lists were about restriction, not choice. It presented a very defined view of what was and was not possible in the vast galaxy of the 41st millenium. Some troop types never, ever appeared on the battlefield together according to the previous iteration of the rules. Some Legions never, ever used certain types of wargear. These restrictions removed lots of ‘What if…?’”

    This is simply not the way your customers feel ist. We go willingly with restrictions to form our beloved Kult-Legion Armys. If we like to take whatever the codex has, we have have the freedom to take it with a black legion-style or diy-army. There were freedom of choice.

    You have streamlined the codex: csm an robbed it of all the cool feelings and spirit. The Legions are just a colorsheme and a few textlines – this is so sad.

    Okay – here a comes the main good things of the new/current codex: csm ->

    CSM have fully wargear equipment. Thats very fine. Kultmarines are partwise better than before (this goes not for Noisemarines).

    Okay know the bad things (the majority is covered in the post by htmc above):

    I like to put a closer look at the noisemarines – I play EC and IW. Why can´t they take normal weapons? Why is the Blastmaster so overexpensive? A lascannon in a havocsquad is 35 cause its possible to get 4 of them in a single squad – a BM can come only once per squad but is 5 more! The BM is better than before, yes, but this much better? No way. Why ist the Shockbooster a champ only weapon?

    What about vet-skills? Before there a tons of them, know there ist a single squad-choice that can inifiltrate… What have you done the the chaosspawn. It is highly expensive and near useless (i love the new models and by the way gw would like to sell them, yes? so why make crappy rules for them) (cause they are forced to charge thing they cant hurt like dreadnoughts. the fearless rule ist contraproduktive – take extra wounds without any armour-save?

    The armoury ist gone – i can live with that. But with a glimpse to the loyal-sm dex, or the new sw-dex i can see, they get the demonic gifts in form of extra options in their armoury like digital weapons, relic blades or the newest sagas.

    Okay this codicies are knewer but i think they show why csm-players are a little sad this days.

    See how the mighty have fallen …


  131. Oh Gav you somehow are still missing the point. Either that or you are not great at making analogies.

    “[HMBC] described [Co: CSM as] … vanilla ice cream…You can have it on its own, you can put sprinkles on it, or many flavoured syrups, or serve it with pie, or with cake.” Gav quoting HMBC.

    The Co: CSM IS vanilla (because all unit choices are able to be utilized in any army build, in other words there are no legion specific lists, which is not the #1 gripe) but Gav, you haven’t provided any toppings (options for customization) unless you are considering inedible options like pretty cups and spoons (aesthetics like paint schemes and converting options with no gaming effect).

    Come on man.


    • One of us is missing the point, and it isn’t me. The ‘toppings’ are the things that you – the gamer, collector, painter, modeller – want to add to the mix, not a set of prescribed rules upgrades laid out by the Codex writer. Something gets called ‘vanilla’ because it lacks rules options. I’m saying that rules are no substitute for player creativity.



      • Are you saying you want us to make our own rules? I believe what Deuce is saying is that there aren’t the options in the codex to be creative. The codex writer should not set prescribed rules and upgrades, but allow options for the player to create a wide variety of armies. For example, in many codexes your choice of HQ allows certain units to be taken in different force organisation slots and therefore different army styles to be created.


      • Are you going to require the readers of your new novel be creative and think of their own conclusion?

        You may as well not provide codices at all if you want the highest amount of player freedom to be creative.

        I know that comes across really snide when read. I mean no disrespect. I’m just making a point. A point which has been hammered home and I won’t add to it any more.

        Good luck on all your endeavors. I really enjoy 40K as a hobby and have had tons of fun with my chaos regardless of codex.


      • Unfortunately the ‘toppings’/’flavours’ that matter to fluff fans like myself have been removed. and no amount of ‘player creativity’ will get me the option of fielding 4 heavy support choices in a tournament or against people I don’t know…

        I was about to start an Iron Warriors army but since I can’t make them legion specific I fail to see the point.

        I can understand that making a Codex taht will be liked by all is going to be impossible, but creating restrictions and removing the options you had previously is not really the way to go about it.

        Imagine the howls of anguish if Space Wolves had been told that we would just be grey codex marines from now on?

        If GW had published Legion specific rules for the traitor legions, then fine, I’d be all over it like a Blood Claw on a 1K Sons marine, but since there isn’t, it’s a bit lacklustre in my opinion.
        Again, this is purely because I’m in it for the fluff.

        If I had been able to use the 3.5 ed C:CSM Every IW army I fielded would’ve had all fourHeavy slots filled and no fast attack. Why? Because that’s fluffy, and it’s the removal of fluffy toppings/flavours that is problematic to me.


      • Ti be honest gav, im not being disrespectful, but you might have to suck in some pride and humble pie. At worst i find the chaos dex bland but still fun.


      • no mr. thorpe it’s you


      • Yes but there is one problem.

        lets say I want to play thousand sons.

        I can paint, collect, and model thousand sons but your codex prevents me from doing one thing. PLAYING thousand sons.

        yes there is a thousand sons unit but in order to make a truly thousand sons army I must spam sorcerers and rubric marines which creates an army that cosist of ahriman or a sorcerer with 2 or more units of rubric marines.

        now to extend this to the other legions.

        alpha legion is chosen spam
        world eaters is berzerker spam
        night lords is raptor spam
        iron legion is vehicle spam (admitadly less restricting than the others)
        emperor’s children is noise marine spam
        word bearers is daemon spam
        death guard is plague marine spam

        notice a pattern here

        now the only legion I can actually play is the black legion.

        now if you wanted player creativity why did you reducew teh legion lists to spam lists.

        Now you have suggested writing your own rules to fill in the gaps but the problem with that is two fold

        1. I will have to spend valuable gaming time explaining to my opponent my armies rules if he even decides to accept them in the first place.

        2. I am basically doing your job for you as I bought the ‘dex because I DIDN’T want to make up my own rules.

        just my $00.2


      • No offense Gav, but I don’t want the only thing that differentiates my Thousand Sons chaos army from someone else’s Iron Warriors to be a simple paint job. That’s the whole reason players choose to build a Black Templars army over Blood Angels, Space Wolves over Ultramarines, etc. People *like* variety and uniqueness. Sorry to say, but the current chaos codex seems woefully lacking in both departments.


      • Also, I know by posting this blog entry you probably hoped that by explaining your reasoning behind the choices you made that it would somehow convince people that those reasons were correct, valid, or whatever. I think perhaps what you forgot is that many of us already intuited a lot of what you wrote. I may be wrong, but it seems like you expected us to acknowledge the choices you made as right and proper based on your own reasoning when in reality we already have our own reasons for why we don’t like it and why we believe the choices you made were inappropriate. While I appreciate your candor in confirming a lot of what I personally suspected, I still disagree with pretty much every decision you made as well as the reasons why. I feel that way because I believe you let what you felt should be the focus of the army blind you to what players actually expect and frankly wanted.

        I liken this to the same mistake Jervis made with the last edition of Epic before it was completely revamped in Epic Armageddon. He admits that while the game itself was quite good in and of itself, he had genericized it so much that *players* didn’t enjoy it anymore because their armies had lost their individuality to a large extent. Many people don’t play 40K or any other miniatures game as simply a “game.” They play it because it is immersive, has RPG elements that help to envision the environment, and the rules help make that environment into something they can visualize. The more you genericize something, the less that is possible and I think that’s exactly what happened with the chaos codex. You believe it gave players freedom, but in doing so it stripped the individuality, the details, the little things that help us envision our army not as just markers on a tabletop, but actual soldiers fighting a grand battle that we replay through the spectacle of a game. IMO that is where you failed Gav. Instead of seeing 40K as more than a game, you tried to get everyone else to see it as only a game. JMO though.


      • It is if you require a mutual and universal understanding of the rules, not to mentioned tried and tested for game balance.

        While creating ‘in-house’ rules for your mates or club is fine, which does currently happen anyway, to expect a codex to rely on this is impractical and a naive idea. For in order for a game to be enjoyable for all participants it really needs to be fair and there is no guarantee of that with players making it up as they go along.

        Games need rules that, for want of a better word, enforces well thought out and balanced structure. Otherwise we might as well go back to playing games of toy soldiers like when we where 6 years old.

        The previous CSM codex had players inputting their creativity as you suggest as do the current codices. Fluff supported by rules inspire those creative juices. Your version falls considerably short of encouraging or inspiring players to play let along create.

        Opinions are opinions, but when a certain opinion is dominant then it wise to listen to those opinions, even if it is at the cost of personal pride and acknowledging previous errors in judgment.


  132. Wow, I haven’t read a thread of comments like this in a real long time there is such venom spitting and nerd rage I and kind of taken aback by it. Remember guys this is a game where we play with little toy soldiers although the CSM codex may have rubbed people the wrong way and nerfed a lot of armies that folks spent a lot of time and money on. It’s just a game.
    I’m sure Gav spent a lot of time and effort on a codex he thought would be well received. So I can only bet that deep down inside it hurts him on some level that there has been such a backlash about it even two years after its release.
    My thing about CSMs has always been that they needed to be toned down a bit. I always thought that a all World Eater was without a doubt a broken list with Blood Thirsters , winged daemon princes, bloodletters, Korn Berserkers and frenzied Dreadnaughts. I have been tabeled quite a few times by these lists. I think the new codex should have had god specific armies, undivided armies and the god specific daemons in it.

    I have never played CSMs and was strongly considering doing it with a Emperor’s Children army. I decided against it because the new codex took away the options to put sonic weapons on dreadnaughts and vehicles. Also without the option to take Slanesh demons this army no longer appealed to me.

    I also think it was not play tested enough and this is a system wide problem. When play testing I think GW doesn’t take into consternation the hard core tournament gamer. These guys make lists up just to win tournaments, which is fine, if that’s what they want to do (I’m talking about all those double lash 9 obliterator army list guys). These lists are not really made in the spirit of the game; they are made to win tournaments. I think that the play testers at GW test in the spirit of the game and don’t push the codex’s boundaries in order to avoid these broken lists.

    One sad fact about a friend of mine who had 2 exquisitely painted CSM armies one a World Eater army the other was a Word Bearer army with a lot of daemons in it. Both were painstakingly painted and heavily converted even when it came to the bases they were just awesome. After reading the new CSM codex he was so discouraged that both of his armies had been essentially castrated he left the hobby and hasn’t played a game of 40k since.

    I know Gav worked hard on the codex and had the best of all intentions, it was a swing and miss for most of previous CSM players and those who were looking into starting a CSM army (like me).

    The greatest thing about this game is that all it will take is a new codex to come out and correct these mistakes. Look at the 3rd ed IG codex the 1st came out in 99 the next one came out in 03 and the CSM 3rd ed came out in 99 the next in 02 so maybe we only have to wait a year or two for the next one.


    • jcflanker Said:
      “….I also think it was not play tested enough and this is a system wide problem. When play testing I think GW doesn’t take into consternation the hard core tournament gamer. These guys make lists up just to win tournaments, which blah blah blah.”

      Fine, I will say it AGAIN for those who do not seem to get it. I’ll even break it down again into stages so you can follow it easier:

      1) The Codex WAS playtested by ‘hardcore’ Chaos players.

      2) Feedback WAS given. A lot of it, sometimes quite strenuously.

      3) What the Studio choose to DO with the Feedback was their decision.

      I am trying to be obvious about as I can while still not crossing a line into rude accusations. Put the pieces together folks, jeeez…


      • how do you know this info? If you don’t want to post it here you can email me the answer.


      • On September 17, 2009 at 8:27 pm jcflanker Said:
        “how do you know this info?
        If you don’t want to post it here
        you can email me the answer.”

        As I stated earlier, my name is in the back of the book. There is a reason for that.


      • He’s right, more importantly is how did you guys get past 2 Lash Princes or 6 legal Land Raiders? I understand the Templars can get well over the amount, but seriously.


    • Oops, did not see the “Studio chose to do with feedpack part”

      Belay my last post


    • “… he was so discouraged that … [he] hasn’t played a game of 40k since.”

      Talk about throwing your toys out the pram! He gave up a game he enjoyed against opponents whom he had fun playing against and… or was he more of a painter?

      Another thoguht: coming from the UK we’re spoilt with choice of friendly opponents through clubs. I can understand not wanting to play again if your only opponents are random gamers at a store, but find it confusing if his regular opponents were friends.


  133. I do think the new Chaos Codex is slightly vanilla, but the endless, inane restrictions of the old Codex are lifted to present the fully unpredictable. Perhaps a harmony between the two can be achieved in future? Fully flexible and unrestricted armies but with options and richness!?

    On the Daemons and summoning, a solution: have in the Daemon Codex that mortal Chaos forces (Marines, renegade Guard…) can summon the Daemons like in the Chaos Marnie Codex but play them using their points costs and stat’s as in the Daemon Codex. Maybe have summoning equipment options or whatever that are bought by these forces from the Daemons Codex?

    Just thoughts, and I do appreciate the intentions of the Codex, after a while comparing them, I saw what you and the design team were trying to go for.

    – Callum.


    • That would be hard to do, the thinking that has been done for the last quarter century is the gods hate each other and only rarely ally. Their followers are the same way, won’t ally with each other unless a champion of such strength as Failbaddon can bring Cults together.


  134. As mentioned before, the issue with the CSM dex comes in two parts, 1) The major down sizing of options and 2) the rules as they stand today.

    I see now, that the responsibility for the down sizing cannot be laid purely on Gav’s shoulders. Such a significant change in direction had to come from higher up the design team food chain, as apparent in both Dark Angel and Blood Angel rules. A direction that now seems to have thankfully gone (or more precisely backtracked), possibly due to the frosty greeting that Codex:CSM received.

    However, the rules that did survive the chop and then where revised can only be the responsibility of the author(s) named in the opening page. I’m not going to name these rules as they have already been mentioned more than a few times, but they are not just a matter of opinion, they are legitimate flaws that along with the ‘Edward Scissor hands’ school of editing have contributed to making the current chaos codex possibly the worst 40k book to come out since the games creation.

    Going forward, lets hope that GW fast tracks a revisit to the next Chaos dex, and fixes the flaws commonly perceived and experienced with the current edition.. as big a chaos fan as I am, I don’t think I could tolerate another poorly conceived book for a further 4-5yrs.


  135. […] scorn. Released in 2007, it is only now that Gav Thorpe has chosen to answer his critics on his blog. I love the current Codex (one of the few), my issue is with Gav honesty about the situation. I […]


  136. I think the article does not deal with the real problem of the current Codex CSM. It’s not a question of options and registration. The major problem simply is the lack of some more legion specific special rules, cool legion specific equipment (why can’t a Plague Champion have Nurgle’s Rot or something like a Plague Sword? … always that boring Power Weapon. Why a does a Daemon Prince of Nurgle not have Feel No Pain?) and the massive lack of a distinctive background and a story for the legions. Another topic: The poor design of the Chaos Icons. It is impossible to play a pure Death Guard with true Death Guard Havocs or Chosen … they do not have Feel No Pain nor Blight Grenades and will lose their toughness 5 value if the Icon Bearer dies. Faith in the dark god is obviously very week at the moment!? In its design the Codex CSM is a weird mixture of fragments of Chaos, literally chaotic but not logical and not very inspiring for new player, more frustrating for old players, if plaing a “true legion”. This can only be an attempt.

    I really hope, that GW does the step forward and releases something like Codex Chaos Legions which allows to play Death Guard (Terminators with Feel No Pain, Blight Grenades and Plague Swords would be damn cool and fluffy … THAT’S WHAT WE NEED!!!), Alpha Legion (Chosen as Troops maybe!?) or something else. Even better would be a circle of five books: One for each of the four big God-Legions, and a fifth book covering all legions of Chaos Undivided.


  137. I doubt Gav is even reading these anymore, but just in case, I’m going to underline my major issues with the Codex as well.

    It has a few very good units/options, a few decent units and a lot of crap/filler units that just don’t make sense. A lot of people here have already touched on this, I don’t need to go on about it.

    It removed a butt-load of old play-styles and army compositions. Would it have been so hard to add a troop entry called “cultists” with all 3 stats and disallow them from filling the compulsory Troop choices? “The Codex is about the CSM” – well shouldn’t it also be about the tools they use? Like human meatshields and daemons. You say noone complains about not being able to use IG & SM units together. Well in the fluff those are separate organisations, with separate missions that only occasionally work together. Chaos however works by combining said units together. That is their modus operandi. You and/or GW just threw it out the window and said “you can do it in Apocalypse”. I’m sure a lot of players appreciate the fact that they can play their favourite army only in games of 3000+ points that need a whole day usually or just in closed gaming groups where they don’t need to explain their house-rules to every new opponent every weekend.

    The Counts-As excuse is downright lame as the practice can only go so far. I have some disc riding sorcerers that I use as obliterators. In Apocalypse I usually bring them back as actual sorcerers but people keep confusing them and are surprised to see them move 12″. I refuse to have to use them as obliterators every time just because you made a weak codex.

    Then there’s the point of the Codex being about renegade space marines. I couldn’t believe you were serious until I read the whole codex, and then I still had trouble accepting it. So hundreds of space marines turn traitor and they go to the eye of terror and trade in assault cannons, storm bolters, cyclone launchers, multimeltas, plasma cannons, storm shields and thunder hammers, psychic hoods, banners, land speeders, land raider variants, razorbacks, whirlwinds, razorbacks, whirlwinds, apothecaries, techmarines, SCOUTS for autocannons, daemonic powers, possession and defilers? Is there a specialised planet where they dump all that stuff?

    I’m going to stop here. My blood is heating up and this won’t replace the current codex with a good one so there’s no real point, sorry about the tirade.


    • Sure, the planet is called Retcon Obscuris, we dump alot of gear there, where it is managed by Squats, and Genestealer Cults.

      It’s also the only planet in the galaxy that is not Grimdark.


  138. I have to simply put: this article has the sense of “I had the best of intentions and you cant possibly know what was going on”.

    And you know what- your right. I wasnt in the staffrooms and I wasnt in the meetings so I cant know what was going on. I doubt you could tell me even if you wanted to do to NDAs etc.

    That being said I know what Ive seen, in the players, on the forums, in the tournaments and in local gaming groups- Anyone who played 2nd or 3rd edition chaos is close to crying or has simply given up their army. Only those players who have started in the last 2.5 years, or less, seem to enjoy the book and very few of them can state any specific fluff that they truely love.

    Ive looked through the codex, and Ive played a number of proxy games using it to try and figure out what was going on- and I can see that if you were in a particular mindset about how an army should work it would in fact balance out…. but that unless you really really try to force that peg into the place you want it fails quickly. There are simply easier ways of acheiving game balance, and army wide effectiveness for that matter.

    The current book is wide open to mixing and matching- something it sounds like you wanted to acheive, and in the end did a good job of. What it lacks is the ability to produce lists that are not mixed and matched forwards and backwards yet are still effective and fun.

    This is a problem shared by C:Daemons Id also say. If you wish to take but one of the ruinous powers for fluff reasons, or to simply restrict yourself to not taking opposing forces in the same list due to the fact that they should attack each other on sight 99/100 your ability to produce a balanced army list is entirely removed. Each of the powers specializes so much in a particular style that it is nearly incapable of plugging its own holes.

    And that I think is what has hurt so many people, and why youll have heard and/or received so many angry calls or letters- because though the old lists were restrictive in many ways they did atleast provide internal balance and capable forces.

    Some people couldnt do math properly and had issues with the old codices. Some of them blatantly disregarded any sense of scope or fluff and abused the rules.

    Now almost everyone does. Dual Lash lists being the obvious nod, but most new players have no idea what an “Iron Warrior” is or the origional fluff of Mortarion. Whats worse is that most of them dont care- because the book no longer attracts people with an eye for fluff.

    And that makes me sad.


  139. The problem with the false legitimacy argument is that false legitimacy doesn’t go away just because you strip away and simplify the rules. In fact, I would argue that by making those simplifications, while you may be trying to encourage creativity, you actually do the opposite and stifle it.

    The problem is that people who take the view that the rules are the rules don’t change their opinion just because those rules change. Those peoples creativity is based on the rules, indeed it thrives on it. All the simplification does is restrict their options, whereas a complex system which attempts to legislate the maximum amount it can assists these players in making a (relatively) unique army.

    At the other end of the spectrum are those players for whom the rules don’t make that much difference. The structure and rule system of the game is just a means to an end for their painting/modelling/role-playing. The thing with this is that the very nature of these players is that they don’t give too much of a hoot about the rules. They’re just in it for a cool conversions or stories. It therefore follows that having a highly complicated (and in your eyes, restrictive) rule-set doesn’t really matter to them.

    Consequently, if you want to maximise creativity overall the more legislative approach is preferable as it helps those that require those rules to be creative and doesn’t hinder those that would be creative in any event.

    Of course, most people aren’t on either end of the spectrum. Most will fall in the middle with a tendency toward one or the other. However, I think the point still stands. A rule-set that is more more prescriptive but with more options written into the rules actually generates more creativity overall.

    The problem with such a set of rules is that it inevitably creates loopholes that will be exploited by bearded, cheese-munching douche-bags, but those people will exist and exploit the system regardless. Best just to ignore them.

    My honest opinion is that the best of both worlds can be achieved with a book somewhere in-between the current and last iterations of Codex: Chaos Space Marines. I will also say that I really liked the last iteration of the Chaos Marine book and while I’m merely ambivalent about the current one. It just doesn’t thrill me. On another somewhat related note, I really like the current Vampire Counts book. I think it succeeds in doing exactly what you describe as trying to do with the chaos book. It doesn’t stifle people with too many restrictive rules on who can have what (i.e. all von Carsteins must be stereotypical aristocrats), but equally allows great variety and uniqueness within the army and units themselves.


  140. I for one am quite happy with the current C:CSM. For one it forces you to make/chose an army that isn’t based around a super-character, which I seemed to find that most(not all) chaos space marine armies where based around.

    And Finally some light on the subject on why it is the way it is.


    • Most Chaos Armies are now focused around 2 Demon Princes with Lash of Submission and wings.

      I fail to see how this is an improvement.

      I don’t think people get how this codex didn’t fix the balance issue, it made it just as or more imbalanced as it previously was.


  141. I liked the article alot and I found the comments most interesting. Having played Choas since 1999 I had gotten used to 3:rd ed and I had alot of different builds some where entertaining some were powerful and some were silly. I have tried long and hard to get my models to fit into the new dex but now I feel like everything is just proxies. There is to me at least no life in the codex. I liked the legion fluff, it was what hooked to begin with as well as most of my chaos frineds.

    Not a single one of us had a renegade warband during 3:rd. We had ancient legions of damned, chaos worshipping, murderous, bastards. We had worldeaters, nightlords, 1k sons, alpha legion, iron warriors, emperors children and good old deathguard. We had evil with class. Now all I can think of when I look at the new codex is a bad 70:ies haircut on a dude that has just been told that his father is the right hand of a sith lord. And you should know I was one of those kids secretly wanting vader to win.

    The whole thing just became bland.

    Then there was the demon issue. First off I should perhaps mention that I like most other players pick models based on purpose. If I need antitank I take an obliterator, need more close combat clout I take some terminators or daemonettes… oh yes I can’t. What I don’t take is lesser demons because their use compared to the basic marine is limited.

    The daemonette used to be rending doom. The perfect thing to bring 1 or 2 small squads of if you felt that your small infiltrating 6 man squad may at some point need some close combat back up. Or better still have some bloodletters for your khorne bikers to summon.

    Now this whole counts as thing is all good and well until you look at what they could actually count as. The demons of 3:rd had specific roles to fill the lesser demons are just point fillers. I would also never field any of my old lords (nor any of the named characters in the new one) because the only way to compete with calgar creep is to creep right back. It’s not like there is an endless supply of loylist lists out there that isn’t using calgar or them horrid little HQ:s that give scouts 2+ cover saves pretty much anywhere on the table as everything now has 4+ cover from the start. I’d take a unit of sniping 2+ cover for anyday over a 4+ invo that I pay alot more points for. My point being a bit overdue at this point I’ll just spell it out. You could have skipped all our HQ choices except 1… The almighty defining entry in the codex aka lashprince.

    So if we are talking restriction vs nonrestriction I’d say 4:th ed chaos has an issue allready in the hq section. This option being so powerful and yet at the same time absolutly vital to at least have a small chance at winning vs loyalists that the rest of the list becomes prewritten. All the blasts you can get and some plasmaplagies to score with. Seems to me that the restrictions of the old codex at least left me with 30-40 viable builds and sub builds. Some being admittedly alot better but not horrendously so.

    You can’t really force all loyalist players to make “friendly” lists whenever they play against chaos can you? Also making a friendly list with the loylist codex is darn hard mind you 😛 now you may wonder why I drag calgar into all this but it becomes natural to compare the two as they are among the most popular factions and set up to be natural enemies.

    A codex must entertain. It does so by fulfilling some criteria of fun. like:

    A story is good? y/n
    B does it have a 50/50 to win if you play somebody at your own level of game? y/n
    C does it cater to creativity? y/n
    D are all the options in the codex usable while fulfilling B? y/n
    E does it require skill to master the builds you can make? y/n

    In my humble and most personal opinion the only thing that turns into a yes is E and thats mostly due to how horrendously difficult it is to win vs 5:th ed codices like IG and space marines. (try killing 15 assualt terminators + calgar and 3 autolas predators or 6 leman russes at 1500 points) (yes both those lists have plenty of scoring units)

    Oh well. I still play and I still have fun though not with 4:th ed chaos. Can’t please everyone I guess.


  142. hmm just got to go thru all the replies to this afte a bit of a break. wow there are alot of kudos and kneecaps as well huh?

    Gav you are a decent bloke. you work on something that you’ll never appease everyone on. tough job. but i think its you who is missing the point of all these comments both good and bad.

    i think you come to codex writing like most musicians do. they write for themselves and screw those who dont like it. to an extent thats fine. BUT you’re claiming that youre writing these dex’s to make the game more fun and all these folks and loads more are trying to tell you that you are falling short of the mark.

    i’ve seen you reply to maybe 2 posts here both before and after my earlier one. why are you dodging? you set your self up for this by posting it. way to have the guts to do it. now follow up on it and have some adult intelligent discussions with the folks trying to give you feed back. even a simple “point taken, what do you suggest” or “youre out of your bleedin mind” shows folks that you are listening to what they are saying even if you aren’t gonna do what they suggest.

    i’ll say this one last time. i can write a competative list from the codex that you’ve given us. i have and used it in a tourney had an opponent quit because i was beating him bad due to his own mistakes and try to tell me that my army wasn’t fluffy. hmm he thought that as chaos i should be playing a unified legion like some of the others who had painted thier armies all the same legion colors…hmm well to be honest i couldnt. you wouldnt let me play a legion unless i wanted to play black (which i didn’t) so i played a renegade warband. i had slaneesh units 2 sorc with lash (big surprize huh?? ; ) ), 2 1000 sons tzeentch units (hell i do have a 1000 sons legion at my disposal that i cant field…., 2 undivided units wait you mean i cant field my iron warriors as iron warriors anymore???, 2 units of 2 oblits (wouldn’t want to be cheasy and have 3 units of 3 now would i…..) and a vindicator (well because you say any chaos can have it now).

    it was a decent, not tourney winning, competative list that i created 2 weeks before the tourney and rushed to have painted to be able to play. it didnt take me long to make my list which is what you wanted isnt it? it was competitive and fun for me to play. isnt that also what you wanted. however my opponent, who by the way was trying to play BA but had no clue how to make a fluffy BA list, bitched and moaned then finally quit at the end of turn 2 because i build a unfluffy chaos renegades list with units from 2 different gods and some mixed undivided units.

    thank you very much mr thorpe for making me be unfluffy by following your codex.

    wow did that hurt? gonna tell me that i missed the point of the codex? gonna tell me that i dont know how to make a fun list? or just gonna ignore me and pretend i didt post here for you to get feedback on whats good and what needs fixin in the books you write for this game.

    if you think i’m trying to insult you get some thicker skin. i’m not. though i admit i do come over harsh.

    are you going to do me the honor of a response from you? for some reason i doubt it.


  143. incinerator950 wrote: Most gamers rely on building an army list rather than skill. Infact, 60% of 40k players are angry power gamers. This is especially true for tournaments where the only objective is to win, not look good, but win legally by whatever works.

    I dislike this view point and love seeing judges dock points from people for terrible fluff to minmax an army, but this is 40k now.

    Hence why my army sits in a drawer unfinished.
    ++++ End Paste++++

    This is not true for all tournaments, I assure you. Check out the rules for Astronomi-con at the link. After ten years of running an event with this format I can assure you of one thing – killer generals who don’t care about the rest of the hobby might go home with a ‘Best General’ trophy – but they’ll never get a best overall or any of the other more presitigious ones. Winning at all costs isn’t the only thing at every tournament. Just some of them (and those are the ones that, to be honest, I wouldn’t waste my money on but I do admit to being biased).


    • I’d agree with you except that I’ve spent the last year looking at the same requests for army lists and still see the same answers and builds from local people, and they’re still with Obliterators, Plague Marines, Berzerkers, and Demon Princes.

      Then when you breach 2000 pts you start to see a couple of Land Raiders, and then if you’re unlucky you’ll see someone bring out 4-6 Land Raiders and spam Berzerkers or Terminators.


  144. I will try to keep this short. As far as the 5th edition codices go, the orks, daemons, SM, IG and Space Wolves all have a lot of character in the armies. Just the characters alone compliment the armies and really seem to add a lot to the builds of the forces that I see. All of those armies are really a lot of fun to play without having to “use our imagination”.

    Now the same can not be said for the Eldar and CSM codices. To be honest, they are just down right boring to play now and I really only play them because of the shear number of hours I have spent painting each army (1,000+ hours for Chaos alone). There is no character to these two army books. Sure you have some cool characters like Yriel, Pheonix Lords, Eldrad and Abbadon. However, they are just one up characters. Beyond themselves – they do not really bring anything special to the armies. And the unit selections are just boring too.

    If I had to rate the Eldar and CSM books, I would say they deserve a grade of a “C”. They accomplished some of the simplification goals in the transition to 5th Edition. However, they failed in several aspects to bring character to the battlefield. I attribute that to almost a first paper in a college class where you are trying to feel out your professor. The second and third papers are typically better, which all of the books released afterwards have been. I would give the ork, daemons, SM, IG and Space Wolves grade ranges from a B+ to an A.

    Overall – I hope that when GW releases the Eldar and CSM books in the future, they apply the same principles in codex development as were applied to the five listed above with a B+ to A ratings.


    • The only serious flaw in this post is the nomenclature. To be clear: there are currently three (3) 5th Edition codices: Space Marines, Imperial Guard, and Space Wolves. The other codices you mention are not 5th Edition books, although Daemons was written close enough to the 4th-5th transition that it pretty much counts. As such, the CSM Codex was, more or less, appropriate to 4th Edition, as was the Eldar Codex. However, the changes to the way things are going in 5th Edition, with a return to the character of the older army lists that we saw in 2nd Edition, but more balanced and streamlined, mean that CSM and Eldar fall rather short (I don’t think it’s possible to write an Ork Codex that is not characterful, that’s just the way Orks go) in comparison. Neverthless, your point is valid; they are bland, and any attempt to defend the book by claiming otherwise is either ignorant or deceitful


      • You make some good points, but then you spoilt it by ending with a sweeping, insulting generalisation:

        “Neverthless, your point is valid; they are bland, and any attempt to defend the book by claiming otherwise is either ignorant or deceitful.”

        So the views of the many people who enjoy the book and have used it to collect and play with exciting, cool-looking armies are either ignorant or deceitful? It is fine for you to say you think the book and army is bland, but to claim it as an objective fact despite the opinions of others to the contrary could be taken as ignorant and deceitful.


      • Gav, most people now don’t make beautiful armies, they make tournament lists and then paint them.

        Exciting is not the word I’d choose to describe the same two Army lists that are used everywhere Outside of tourneys as well as in them.


  145. This is a complete shirking of responsibility by the author.

    No set of players is required to follow the rules, GW can’t repeal or enforce that. We will always be free to throw the rules out the window.

    However, most of us want clear, consistent rules because they prevent arguments and make the game more enjoyable. Saying that sloppy rules give us “power” is a total lie and is utterly LAZY.

    Games Workshop said a few years ago that it was done with “mini dexes,” that it would focus on updating all the core armies. Years later, there are a half dozen new Space Marine books, yet still no Dark Eldar Codex.

    Stop pretending that squeezing more blood from the Space Marine stone is a service to the hobby. It is a service to your wallets. You want Legion books so that you can print a $25 book for every Legion, not to add depth to the hobby.


  146. They should stick to adding stuff, rather than taking stuff away whenever they make a new codex. If the old stuff is a bit off (in points, or the way an ability works) – don’t take it away, change it to make it work.

    Also, it should be possible to produce a rich codex with a lot more options, and still getting people to make balanced lists. Crippling and blanding is just not the answer to the problem of powergaming-lists.

    Abilities and wargear should be 4 things:

    *fun to play
    *useful in game
    *balanced (not TOO useful)


  147. Hello Mr. Gav Thorpe,
    Thank you for allowing us to express our thoughts regarding the CSM codex. Most of the comments show a dislike to the CSM book. I hope you have not regreted your decicion to post this article, cause thought even I think the book is not that well writen I salute you personal effort for communication and discussion.

    Unlike most of the players that left comments I am very new to the 40k scene and even newer to the chaos space marine codex (4 months).

    I do not know of Iron warriors and Alpha legion (though I know who they are I dont know there previous special rules).

    What I dislike is the fact that a champion of slaanesh gifted with rare power transforming him into a deamon prince would lead an army of with 3 units of rotting nurgle marines and then in a land raider full of khorne terminators.

    Cause even though new in the scene that is what you see 2 dp lash/units of nurgle troops/khorne tzench termies.

    It is my understanding that the dark gods hate each other more than anything else.

    It is my belief that when you create a codex it is your responsability to prevent such bugs. You need to put the boundries, Its my personal opinion that boundries and limitations make the game more enjoyable.

    The tournament scene should not be disregarded but seen as a pulse for if you have done a good job or not. Though this goes more to fantasy than 40k, when in the gw fantasy finals (last year) 7 out of 10 armies are fantasy deamons and deamon players have played 6-7 games the weekend vs other deamons, you DO have a problem)

    There is nothing bad with having a friendly game and obeying the rules to the letter (I dont mean RAW).

    Also I have been told that gw dislikes publishing errata because everything should be covered in the book. All GW have computers making the errata accesable to everyone. Errata is a good thing.
    It is cheap to produce and cost almost nothing to put on your already running web site (GW). Have you seen the lenght of Warhammer-world errata? They are doing a good job. Its one thing makking a mistake or missing it in playtesting it is another to ignore it.

    Also does GW have stores participate in playtesting and if no why not? I never understood the secresy of GW.

    Mr Gav Thorpe all these questions /complaints are not directed towards you but as GW staff of your level could maybe make an impact.
    I still like GW and I think the 40k basic rules are realy good. I also understand that the codex should be easy enough for someone new to pick up the book and make a list, this was just my litle rant.
    Thank you for reading my comment.


  148. […] Marines (an army supplement for one of the popular Warhammer 40,000 factions) which launched to mixed reactions amongst the notoriously passionate fans of Warhammer 40k. Nowadays he earns a crust by […]


  149. The new codex is the equivalent of getting rid of the different loyalist chapters and making all Space Marine players choose Ultramarines [but with less viable options]. I wonder how that would go down…

    The only way this new codex would work is if dexes were brought out for the different cults, and fairly soon after the main dex. However this aint gonna happen.

    Is it coincidence that the army choices that are blindingly obvious are expensive, old. metal figures that probably weren’t selling very well? Daemon Prince and Obliterator sales gone up perhaps?

    I want to play Emperor’s Children, I don’t want to play Black Legion. I want to run a fluffy list with lot’s of noise marines [in units of 6] and sonic weapons and an HQ from my legion. I also want to use cool models like raptors, bikers, possessed, dreadnoughts etc [none of which would be unfluffy imo] and for these units to be effective, and cost effective. I’d like to include Daemons and cultists, both of which are an integral part of any fluff that you read on Chaos. However unless I want to get my ass handed to me it’s obliterators and lash princes and big units in rhinos. Therefore I feel forced into limited, cheesy, not very fluffy lists. Was this the intention?

    Been reading Khorne blogs and lots of players there are gonna use the Space Wolf dex as they feel it better represents their models. So the situation has been created were a loyalist dex better represents a fluffy Chaos army than the Chaos dex?

    Lastly this whole argument about using ‘counts as’ models is just ludicrous, when nearly every tournament and [from the posts above] most casual groups use the rule of WYSIWYG [which I believe is also championed in the rulebook]. IMO GW just wants to make certain models/combinations obselete and making new models ‘must haves’ with every new dex release so that players are forced into buying lots of new models. No wonder more and more people are using magnets in order to ensure their armies can change to suit the whims of the game developers.

    Just glad I don’t play Iron Warriors/Night Lords/Alpha Legion…


  150. I agree with am tyrannosaurus about the current codex. I always wanted to play a Thousand sons legion. But guess what. Their models are overpriced and too specialised to be effective enough against any thing other that Marines or necrons, adding to that the other troop choices are equally capable of doing the same thing as thousand sons and still cost effective against other armies. I have seen a fan made codex which does a better job at it that this codes and it is hardly cheese.

    The current codex is a huge improvement over the old one, which was over the top and on some part a bit complicated and limited you’re chooses. The current codex improved that but it simultaniuously got ride of the good thing is the codex. Adding to that many upgrades an units are way to obviouse that it is not fun. more that half of the psychic powers and useless, pretty much all upgrades on vehicles are useless in most casses, possesed, lords, Dreadnoughts, Thousand sons, almost all special charracters not worth taking either because of the cost or they don’t work.

    The back to the fluffy problem. What i like about warhammer 40k is it’s rich background. But with codex: chaos space marines most themed armies are just too uncompetative to be fun. I don’t what a cheesy army I want a playable army that is both fully, rewarding and fun. But in this codex your not going to last if you do not mix. I also don’t need a legions codex or a big list with lot’s special rules of a chaos legion. But what I need is a playable themed army and a way to say: ‘this a a Ksons force.’ One fan codex had limited the legions to simply and upgrade for a HQ that gave you 1 or 2 extra options or rules, nothing big and nothing over the top.

    What would have been good is if the chaos SM codex took the good things from the old one, like it’s customizable charracters and such (like the chaos gifsts,)tune it a bit down to fit it in with the other armies, a good selection of psychic powers, a good mark of chaos and Icon system (not like the current one and none generic daemons (perhaps a bit tuned down compaired to codex daemons). Give it both the option of making a themed legion or just a lose rabble warband form different oregins like the current codex.

    The current one just has all the chaos sucked out of it. Why do you think it has gotten the nicknames “Codex naughty marines” or “Codex when ultramarines go bad” and I have even heared “EMO space pirates”

    To sum it up, I think it could have easily been done better.
    And it make me sad that one of my favorite factions is so bad and plain represented by the game rules.


  151. Gav,
    I, personally, really like the book. There were aspects I liked better about the previous. Overall, I would say a win for the new one.


  152. TBH i do like the CSM codex. Okay the Princes Need bit of Flavour and we Need an FAQ for Lash, But ive based a 3000pts list and Fluff just around The Undivided Marines because they are Flexable… alongside a 2000pts list of Each god on the way… the one thing i REALY want to see is a Cultists list… that can do more than Using IG Currantly what im doing) can do. Things like +1 to summoning rolls and sacrificing and stuff like that… chaosy… our local gaming club has made its own units for Apocalypse or w/e, but it would be nice to be able to do an Unorganised Cultist rabble… maybe a list with muties… that kind of stuff….

    But on the whole Nice one GW on a Decent list with flexabiliy (if you know how to use it) 😀 OH and id also love to see some more Chaos Fluff somewhere just as more Inspiaration 😀 would be awsome! Im tempted to do a 2nd Company of Chaos Marines….. (there are 105 Marines in my 1st Company…:D )

    Cheers For This Article… And Cheers For Reading. Feel free to MSN me people its



  153. […] using a single codex. Same reason the Chaos Space Marine legions are gone, as Gav Thorpe explains here. Restricting or rewarding a variant army to make certain choices actually destroys the emaginative […]


  154. The problem is that without some sort of rule to point to, there isn’t nearly as much incentive to customize. Yeah, you can do all sorts of crazy conversions with your chaos lord, but at the end of the day he’s not going to be all that different from the next in effect, which is kind of frustrating because, by all accounts, Chaos lords are some of the most individualistic people in the setting. If you want to streamline a codex, it shouldn’t be the codex that depicts a force with “chaos” in its name.


    • I disagree that a rule provides incentive to customise. In a way, so closely linking background, physical appearance and rules together in such a way makes it difficult for hobbyists to customise and convert simply for aesthetic or background reasons. For example, back in the day of the late, great 2nd edition Codex: Chaos, only a few cult marines existed to represent the most extreme types of Traitor Marines. Night Lords, Word Bearers, Alpha Legion and the others were represented only with background and a colour scheme and proved to be immensely popular nonetheless. It’s a more recent phenomenon (last ten years sort of recent, not last couple of months) that this reliance on rules to represent differences has developed – a large part the Index Astartes articles are to blame for including variant army lists (changes to the rules) rather than simply giving hobby suggestions on how a particular force could be represented using the standard army list.*

      The big problem is the escalation in special rules that has crept into the system, which creates an arms race not in game balance terms, but in presentation. If Troop A in Army 1 gets a special rule to represent something from the background, it follows that Troop B from Army 2 should have a different rule to reflect their own little variation of abilities.

      On the other hand, I do agree that with some troop types – particularly characters like Chaos Lords and Daemon Princes and possibly Terminator Squads – that I think we could have been more relaxed in terms of upgrades, wargear choices and so on. But that’s true of most armies, not just CSM. Although it is the Chaos ‘thing’ to have infinite and exciting variety, it’s a darn big universe and players of other armies could argue the same – no two Chapter Masters are quite alike, no two Ork Warlords are the same, and so on.

      *I was part of the problem, I’m not just pointing the finger at everyone else. After all, I wrote Craftworld Eldar, and was involved in coming up with the idea of variant army lists for Codex: Armageddon. Games Dev had a lot on control back then, and it is only understandable that when presented with a situation, our default response was to write more rules. Were I to have a time machine, I’d probably go back and argue that rules variants were an unsustainable solution to the issue of providing paper support for second releases and so on (which is what the sub-codexes were originally created for). These days, with the likes of Planetstrike-style expansions, Uniform Guides and other options on the table, I think the overall shape of the game systems are the better for it.


      • The wants of customers are not static, Mr. Thorp. Just because it was fine for the hobby three editions (a decade) ago to be slim on rules doesn’t mean it is adequate now. With the release of 5th ed. C:SM we have seen a better way and have made ourselves heard.

        In a world of WYSIWYG, shouldn’t you get what you see? Meaning, if I am going through the time to convert and customize shouldn’t I get a rule to make that worth my time and effort? This is the incentive argument you are clearly missing.


      • The wants of customers are certainly fluid, but it is also important to remember the wants of some customers are not always the wants of all of them, and a developer must maintain a balancing act between those different demands. In this case, it’s not that players are wrong for desiring lots of little exceptions and special rules, is just that it is a demand that we as games developers created. If the rules variants in the 3.5 Codex and Index Astartes articles had never existed – the options presented purely as cool background, colour schemes and army themes – there would not be the outcry there was when these options were taken away. It’s a genie in a bottle situation – once that infinite variety has been offered, it’s very hard to take it back (as many of the comments to this post attest!). In short, I don’t blame players for wanting this stuff, I blame myself and other developers for presenting only rules-based solutions to things that were once dealt with in other ways.

        The problem with WYSIWYG in this context is that it works both ways – especially when dealing with the likes of Spiky Bits and other assorted ephemera. It could be argued that because something isn’t represented by a rule, it can’t be on the model, stifling creativity in that direction instead. Surely the reward for having a cool conversion is, well, having a cool conversion to show off? For one person that might make an incredible job of a conversion for the best of intentions, there’s likely to be someone else who paints a bolt pistol bright red and says that’s a Kai Gun. When you start limiting player’s gaming options to their modelling ability, you start getting into a very strange place – it’s like saying that a top drawer paintjob gets +1 to hit.

        That all depends on how detailed one’s attitude to WYSIWYG is – the minimum is at least having the right sort of armour and weapons, but some folks might insist that grenade options and psychic powers should somehow be represented. The modelling aspect of the hobby is such a mutable thing, it is dangerous to be too fixated upon modelling features relating to specific rules. It’s the difference of the joy of all those options as an intellectual excercise in army selection and tactics, and the realities of transferring those options on to the tabletop.


      • Well in fairness to you Gav – you shouldn’t blame yourself. That particular ‘genie’ of customization really came with the original RT version of the game and was only enhanced with the Wargear cards of 2nd edition.

        Wargear pages in 3rd was a reasonable step back, but the brief stint into cookie cutter characters with Chaos and Dark Angels was a faux pas on GW’s part – something that they realized and quickly abandoned (smart on their part) but haven’t actually fixed, which a lot of players are taking them to task for.

        That puritanical brief you mentioned above is really what caused all the heartache.


      • Interesting point about the wargear cards, and the customisation of characters it allowed. The sort of variant escalation in terms of the rest of the army didn’t exist though. I think a large part of that is down to the more open army list format in Warhammer and 40K, with the percentages scheme.

        The restrictions/ freedoms of army lists has waxed and waned. Most of the third edition Warhammer Armies lists had very strict minimum requirements – Greenskins had to have at least 20 boyz, 20 arrer boyz, 20 stickas and twenty gobbos; Skaven had to field a minimum of 50 clanrats! In comparison, the 4th ed/ 2nd ed 40K lists were open season for people to collect what they wanted.

        In the end, introducing more restrictions with the 40K Force Organisation Chart and the Warhammer format narrowed down a lot of the opportunities for players to theme armies in different ways, and created the need for developers to provide multiple lists rather than leaving it to players to streamline their own selections from one general list. And in the end, I don’t think either the Warhammer or 40K list changes have fundamentally made it easier or harder to min-max lists and all the other stuff.

        I’d be happy going back to a more free-for-all system, because I think the changes in the basic systems, stat lines and (for the most part) points values have redressed a lot of the Herohammer problems that existed, not the changes in the army selection format.


      • Personally I do not believe that the Herohammer problems have been redressed much, if at all, for 5th edition 40k or 7th edition Fantasy. While in Fantasy it can still be difficult for *most* hero/lord choices to pull a victory against combat resolution, 40k’s current combat focus of ‘who killed more of who’ heavily favors -insert named character powerhouse- who might be accompanied by his colossal army of 5 friends. In some cases the point values of certain magic wargear or named characters don’t seem to match up to what they can do. Eldrad for instance, is cheaper to field than a fully juiced up Farseer, and better in almost every conceivable way. Current Marine characters are especially notorious for this as well, and several 40k lists have become a question of ‘why bother to field a generic HQ’, as opposed to ‘should I splurge for the more expensive named HQ’.

        In my opinion there is far more to the outcry of the Chaos Legion’s loss, than Index Astartes and Chaos 3.5 dex being the source of the problem. 40k entered a very troubling state during the 4th ed era. GW’s policy changed from “have fluffy variant army lists to represent the different legions/craftworlds/clans/regiments/etc”, to “Thou Shalt Not have variant army lists unless you are Space Marines”. Many veteran players have taken this change in a very negative way, wondering why it should apply to everyone but the poster-child army.

        This is even more of a problem now that many of the recent codices won’t allow players to theme their armies towards the legion/clan/craftworld that they’d like. Case in point, Alpha Legion. The best army list to represent them now would be the Lost and the Damned, which is not only out of print but no longer allowed outside of opponent’s permission. Another good example includes the Bad Moons, who aren’t allowed to field more than 1 unit of ‘Ard Boyz (a silly restriction, to say the least). It’s as if the sub-groups within an army have become nothing more than a color-scheme, while the loyalist marines get codex after codex to represent the slightest variations.

        Obviously I realize that there’s nothing you can do about any of this now. And please don’t think this is in any way against you or your work. But this has been a problem with GW’s design philosophty since 4th ed, and has been a major cause for numerous friends of mine to quit the GW hobby (opting for competitor game systems). For myself and many other veterans, we’d love to get even something like the Blood Angel White Dwarf article.


  155. The key here, I think, is that customizing of characters is super important and those customizations really need reflection on the tabletop.

    A big part of the 40k hobby is very – ‘comic-bookey’ if you will. Your army is your army and much of it consists of faceless mobs of infantry marching on their way to death or glory. It’s the characters where the game comes to life.

    People like to make a character ‘their own’ and one way of doing that is not just to build a neat model, but to allow some representation of that difference in the game. This has been the way of the game since Rogue Trader days when there was a wide variety of equipment available. It went even further in v2 with Wargear Cards and then, in v3 started to slip a little.

    The current trend of ‘take a special character’ works, but is kind of unfortunate. It’s limiting and players get tired of seeing an endless stream of Sicariuses and Strakens no matter how they are modelled.

    I think the new Wolfdex hit the mark the best. Give the characters a wide array of wargear options and then let them pick an (expensive) special rule or two of they like. This gives enough choice to make your hero YOURS rather than just one more Marneus Calgar on the table.

    An approach like that, with a lot of wargear options and some special rules to buy, would have worked super well for the Chaos Dex and gone a long way toward making players happier with it.


    • I think the CSM certainly suffer even more in context, given that the somewhat puritanical approach to the army lists that was briefed for the book was then abandoned, making it (and Dark Angels) and brief blip in the Codex continuum rather than the dawn of a new approach…

      The good thing about Codexes is that someone will always have a chance to get it right next time… 😉


      • Right… in 6-8 years. :/


  156. Oh, I’m not quite so sure about there being a lack of customization in the rest of the list. At least as regards the IG (my primary v2 army) there was plenty.

    Weapon options were very similar to what they are now, of course. Squads could be veteran skills and squad leaders could buy wargear cards too. I can recall having an Lt. take out a big tyranid critter (one of the Armorcast Epic scale ups – Malefactor I think) with a Vortex bomb. Grenades were everywhere and played a lot bigger part of the game back then.

    I can’t speak to WFB as I’ve never played much of it, so I don’t know what impact it was having.

    From my perspective, my IG were very customized in the v2 era (more so than RT where they started), less so in v3 when I mostly went back to marines as the IG weren’t very inspiring. When the Doctrines Codex came out I went right back to IG and shelved the marines and ‘crons.

    The new IG ‘dex is quite decent. Not as customizeable as the old one but also not as much deadwood – and customizeable ‘enough’ for the most part to make me happy.

    Man – talk about reminescing. Care to come back to Winnipeg and help us move a piano for some cute chicks again Gav? 😉


    • I’d forgotten about the Vet skills… So, it’s all Rick’s fault then? 🙂

      I’d love to go back to the Chaos Wastes at some point. Pianos and cute chicks a bonus. Just need to write a few more books for the airfare!

      Alas the same is true for all of the other cool places I’ve been and the nice people I’ve met. Much easier to do it on the company dollar.


  157. Lots of wild stuff in both the Ork and Tyranid Codices from the v2 era, and v2 itself with its wide array of weapons each with their own (sometimes extensive) special rules contributed.

    I think Rick and Andy both get the credit for starting the ball rolling.

    I hear you on the funds thing. As I recall it was Astronomi-con rather than GW who picked up the costs for that particular trip when you brought your eldar out to the tournament – but still someone else’s dime.

    I do wish we could still do that, but the costs are just so high these days.

    Ah well, if you’re ever in Winnipeg and need a place to stay we’ve just finished renovating our guest room so don’t be shy about asking for a place to crash!


  158. well Mr Thorpe,

    I have to be honest. im not entirely sure what this topic was meant to achieve. Now im a practical kind of guy (mostly) so im struggling to comprehend what the point of this furious debate was.

    now before people start barking things like freedom of speech and user contributions etc… id like to stop you for a moment. Gav isn’t (to my knowledge) going to write the next chaos codex nor can Gav go back in time and undo the mess he made (sorry gav but it is a mess) of the current codex.

    so i ask again…what is the point of all this?

    i’m more bemused by your decision to address this issue and fan some fires Gav. I mean surely you couldn’t have thought that your reasoned and honest viewpoints would convince the majority of the nay saying fanboys in the ‘warhammer forum’ community did you? i mean it really doesn’t make sense to me why you made the decision to indulge people in this debate. you cannot go back and change it so why do peoples opinions matter?

    now the codex is a mess. that point has been re-iterated 100’s of times by 100’s of contributors. And i suspect that you are genuinely sorry that so many people are upset with it. I don’t think you needed to indulge people though. If people were attacking you with personal abuse and insults then just ignore or block them or something similar.

    People in this community of gamers (and i include all gamers under a single community) will never be happy with anything completely. Every codex that has come out in the 12 years i have been playing has been complained about in some form or another. First its power creep. then its this phenomenon that is the ‘sub-par’ list. Or the opposite, its broken, cheesy or over powered.

    In my opinion, i think most people forget that this game is not designed for tournaments. I think the allure of the tournament has become to strong and people are judging the armies worth to heavily on its ability to compete and win at tournaments. Now people will fling at me by saying things like ‘whats wrong with wanting balance’, ‘whats wrong with wanting to compete in tournaments’ etc…

    but think about it. the game is meant to be played in local clubs or with friends. if someone brings the uber hard broken tournee list to a club you dont have to play him/her. you can say no, i wont play you until you bring it down to a level I can compete with. Tournaments do not provide that freedom.

    I realize i have go off on a completely different tangent there with that angle of reason. What i was trying to point out is that I believe Gav tried to free up the choice in the codex to allow players to build/convert/collect what ever they wanted (you could have nurgle raptors for instance)as this would cause no problems in a local game club format.

    in this example the main gripe is that chaos become boring to use. its not ‘sub-par’ its just really really boring. And so it highlights yet another aspect of the game to moan about. I think people are right to point out that the flavour (nice ice cream analogy) was completely drained from the chaos. There was too much freedom if you like. Also the fluff and game mechanics became nonsensical at times. For instance, why dont deathguard terminators get feel no pain? They are supposed to be even more veteran than the plague marines. Also the point about the unit ‘forgetting’ its god when the icon dies is another relic of nonsense. To me it just feels that this codex was rushed and not thought through properly. there is nothing in it that makes it ‘chaos’ and less still that makes it chaos legions.

    Anyway I have forgotten my own original first point about not caring what people think and then wrote about what i think. So I can only really finish by saying please ignore everything I have said and good luck with the rest of your endeavors.

    To the rest of you, I can only prey that Matt Ward gets the task of writing the new codex. We probably have deepstriking khorne berzerkers and daemonic flying landraiders to look forward to 😉

    smurf out


  159. just been browsing the comments and have some opinions if you dont like the new rule book for chaos use the old one as long as your friends dont mind forget about rules to do with points limits and characters and whack them in make up yoyur own rules and codex if need be i dont use the points or any limits on troop choice when i play we just get what we want to use and a relevent rule and go at it my fave gaming moments recently were my lone wolf smashing ahole in a wall whacking a unit of ork storm boyz before climbing on a tank and dueling with an ork character my second best moment was mt ork tank busters geting whacked then deciding their squig bombs would leg it blowing up loads on each side brilliant fun with made up rules while playing and finally a tip for a wrecked tank scenary peice paint a tank stick a model on top spray wd40 or any flammabnle substance on it and light it to your likeing mines got cracked blistered paint centre melted away with a melted marine like a melta bomb gone off happy gaming everyone


    • Before you get flamed off the planet I will reply with benevolent prose.

      Many gamers play at local comic and gaming shops. I for one fall into this category. I often play new opponents. It would be incredibly difficult to convey new rules to those opponents every time you want to play. This game usually takes a few hours as is. Where your idea is great with immediate and close friends, it is completely unpractical for every other circumstance.

      Using the old dex however is an Idea that could work. I wonder wear I put my old dex, hmmm.


  160. Holy crap Mr. T – this is still receiving responses AGES after the initial post. I only hope my blog gets the same following in time to come.

    I will say the following to any ‘Dex or Army Book writer:
    You are doing a hell of a job keeping the debate going and the hobby moving forward.

    A ‘Dex writer has a vision for the army and does what they can with that vision based on the constraints put on them by Games Development, Intellectual Property, Designers, Sculptors, Painters, and the almighty brain steering the ship.

    Kudos to you all – is all I have – and despite my anguished screams at the recent 40K ‘Dex releases (Blood Angels, Space Wolves, Space Marines) further diluted my beloved Dark Angels to the point of non-competitiveness I must say the turn that the ‘Dexes (I still prefer the term Codices) are taking is a good one. Particular props to Robin Cruddace for the AWESOME Imperial Guard Codex.

    So thank you Mr. T for the CSM codex and the delightful flavour it brought to the army. I am interested as to where it goes next.


  161. FYI, the forum that the original link referenced has since closed, but you can see the post in question here:



    • Thanks! I have updated the link. 🙂 I had a look round some of the other stuff on the site – very cool! Really like the techno-barbarian stuff.

      And this post I find to be a nice appraisal of the codex: http://sonsoftaurus.blogspot.com/2010/05/chaos-hate-40.html

      As you say, there could be more options for differentiating some of the cult troops and daemons, and if it had been the plan not to do so in other codexes, I would certainly have done so. You can understand our hesitation to put too much specific stuff in the ‘basic’ book when it would be contradicted or superceded by later volumes.


  162. Gav,

    I have one question on this topic for you. Do you, in hindsight, regret the, well, castration of the Chaos Wargear section in comparison to the vast assortment of gear and powers available to our Imperial(and even Orky and Eldary) Counterparts?

    See, I understand that the point of the current Chaos dex was the attempt to streamline and tone the whole game down and away from wargear, and that the trend has not been even remotely backed up, and thus that leaves the Chaos dex looking bland from both hindsight and foresight. But most of us are not so much mad anymore as sad. The situation turned out the way it did, and lets face it, despite our still relatively high power level, we got screwed in comparison to the Space Marine dex.

    So do you think it was a bad idea? Or might it have held water had it been followed by the Ork/Marine/Wolf/Blood Angel etc codices?


    • With hindsight I would agree, though in respect to character rather than ‘power level’. It would have taken just a few carefully-selected items to enhance the character choices considerably and perhaps at least nodded towards a few things such as Dark Apostles and the like. This not only invests in the gaming experience but also the aesthetic and narrative angles – character wargear should be as much about inspiring great models and conversions as tabletop abilities. My personal caution at the time was driven by the rise in ‘invisible’ wargear that were simply rules-based abilities. Given the way codexes have developed since, I have no doubts a future revision of the army will include more wargear choices.


      • Yes, of course with regards to character. What I meant with regards to power level is that the Chaos Codex at large or in part is plenty competitive, it juts lacks flavor in the form of customization options.

        In particular this goes for the Chaos Lord, once a favored option and now frequently disregarded, IMO due to the lack of options for customization, and in especially in comparison to his fellow HQ choices.

        This was actually one of the biggest disappointments about the new Chaos for me, as the Terminator Lord model is one of, if not the best plastic leader kit I have ever seen put out by GW(with lots of Spiky Bitz to boot!).

        That said, thank goodness for the soon to arrive plastic Daemon Prince.


  163. Hi Gav!

    I really enjoy this article,and it is one of the things i miss;the why behind everything.

    I know its not part of a developper/designer job to explain every decision,but its always something that interest people and give more a sense of being part of the same hobby or to be more friendly.

    Like you said the actual CSM dex balance it more.

    Because as much as i loved my World Eaters in V3.5,gotta admit that there where lots of balance issues from one list to another.

    But,because there is always a but,even if you say that there where too many options that made restrictions in the previous codex.

    Why oh dark gods!, oh why is there so few Chaos specific options?

    I mean even if you din’t make Legions specific chapters like in the V3.5 dex,why is it that Land Raiders lost their Infernal Engine rule?,or din’t get an updated version?
    -Why is it that Chaos Lords don’t have acces to veterans rules anymore?
    -Why is it that we lost some of the iconic Gods wargears?,such as Khorne’s Ax,Collars of Khorne,and some of the other options wich wasn’t really balance breaking?
    -Why is it that a Chaos Lord is unable to have a wargear that enable hil to re-throw a failed to hit dice,like any other HQ in 80% of other army’s?
    -Why is it that Deamon Princes of Khorne get the end on the stick option wise?
    -Why is it that you can’t give a Mark to Terminators so that they become part of a “Legion” oriented army?,i mean i have Berzerkers troops choices who are better at combat then Berzerkers in Terminators armours who are veterans of millenia’s long wars and campaigns?
    -Why is it that Kharn lost his Eternal Warrior rule?,while it clearly stated in his fluff that he often dies to only rise again?

    I’n my opinion the actual Codex would have been great is a little more options where available,the list in itself is not bad(except for Spawns being Terribad…).

    There is just that sensation of still uncompleted and that it misses something.

    Because like i said i understand that you needed to cut a bit in the options of the previous codex to make it more balanced,but going from 100+ options to a mere 10 options,where 8 of them are identical to the SM codex…,its a hard slap in the face!

    But still,hope the best for you in the futur with your current projects!


  164. Glad you liked the article, keep following my site as I write approximately two articles per week.


  165. Mr. Thorpe,

    I can’t believe that I had not found this article before now. I appreciate your honesty and open nature regarding your thoughts surrounding the creation of Codex CSM. Very few of us will ever really know all the factors that influence the production of something as involved as a WH 40k codex. Thank you trying to share some of that with us.

    Simply put, I stopped playing WH 40k entirely after I read this codex. As a long time Alpha Legion player, I found it very difficult to accurately represent my chosen faction with any interpretation of the rule-set (no matter how liberal) contained within the CSM codex. After reading your article though, I can now see the codex for what it is; an attempt to streamline an otherwise unwieldy rule-set that would satisfy the majority of Chaos players. I think you are correct when you say that it achieved that goal.

    I, along with many other CSM players, was looking at the codex through the lens of my faction, thereby missing the bigger picture. With the passage of several years, I think that we, the players; and you, one of the architects; have learned two things from all of this…

    1. Whether for good or ill, players don’t like the removal of the freedom of choice, no matter how it’s presented.

    2. Game designers cannot satisfy everyone, especially if they’re doing the best they can within the parameters that have been set for them.

    As a result, I still collect and model my Legionnaires and, quite frankly, I’ve done some of my best work painting and modeling outside of the framework of any rule set. I agree that the hobby is not just constrained to the rules. Without this codex and my resulting break from active play, I would not have discovered this fact. Thank you for helping me open my own eyes to the non-competitive side of this hobby.

    Happy Writing,

    – the underwhelmer


    • Thanks for sharing this. I always like it when someone is able to take control of their own hobby, through whatever method needed, and your experience again proves that at the end of the day only each of us can best determine what we need from our games and toy soldiers.




  166. […] (for example that it thoroughly lacks flavour), but Gav Thorpe makes an excellent case on his blog (here and here) that the main design paradigm behind the Codex was to emphasise flexibility: Where the […]


  167. Gav,

    I understand what you tried to do with this but in reality you really did the opposite. Counts as is great, I’ve learned that after playing with this codex for 5 years. At the same time though, there’s only so far you can go with it. I play alot of friendly games and could get away with (prior to 6 edition allies) the occasional unit or two from another codex. But there were so many units that were eliminated or made useless its ridiculous.

    My main point though is that whenever I play (tournament or friendly) I always try to win. I also prefer to play fluffy lists and will usually take fluff over competitive lists. This leaves me at a huge disadvantage, especially against newer codex books. The competitive list still isn’t too difficult to win with, it just leaves so much to be desired. Where is the fluff in two daemon princes in every single battle? Sure you can come up with a story for a few games but over and over? With a new codex on the horizion, I’m hoping we’ll be able to play these lists again with some chance of success though.

    Anyway, I only just now found this. I don’t mean to bash on you as so many people have done. I just want to share some thoughts in case you ever do another codex (for any army).


    • I expect we won’t be waiting too much longer to see what a new incarnation of the Codex looks like (though I don’t know anything more than anybody else about a release). I reckon there will never be one list quite as expansive as all of the Index Astartes articles were, so I’m interested to see what kind of reaction the next edition will get…




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