Monday, 11 March 2013

GW Reclaim their Heritage

This week Games Workshop have released a whole slew of tickets for events - seven of 'em in total - all at Warhammer World this June. What caught my eye was the Vidar's Fate: Praedis Zeta campaign weekend, which features this classic image from yesteryear:

Genestealer Hybrids return to 40k
The image is from the early nineties, when Genestealer hybrids were one of the most imaginative and weird armies available for collection. For me, the period from the latter years of Rogue Trader through to Second Edition were the most fertile and creative times in Games Workshop's history. It coincides with my first innings with 40k, so perhaps a little nostalgia has crept in(!) but from that era we have the Freebootas and Waaagh! The Orks books, the Realm of Chaos book, Titan Legions morphing into the Epic / Space Marine game, Necromunda and, slightly later, Gorkamorka. All of them were chock-full of well-written, clever and funny background fluff (especially the Orks books) and the army lists were full of imaginative and interesting units.
One of those armies was the Genestealer Cult. For those not in the know (or not born... it was over twenty years ago) Genestealers infiltrated all societies and used their telepathic hypnotism to exercise control over those in control. Quickly, a cult would arise around the Genestealer and the puppet politician it controlled, with the Genestealer implanting (exactly how was left to our imaginitions I believe...) it's spawn into host bodies. When born, these creatures were part-Genestealer, part-human (or Ork, or whatever the parent host was). First-generation hybrids were a real alien/human mix, with subsequent generations becoming more and more human. Those born in the fifth generation were once more purestrain Genestealers.
The Vidar's Fate: Praedis Zeta event at Warhammer World seems to have been designed by Nick Bayton, one of the main guys down at GW-HQ and a friendly, decent guy too). Nick obviously knows his heritage, as the campaign he has devised allows units of Genestealer Hybrids to be taken. I doubt that this is a precursor to GW releasing either a codex (highly unlikely) or even an Allies supplement (of which I've read a lot of internet wishlisting about) but rather a fun throwback to GW's younger, more carefree and creative past.
If however GW did want to reclaim their heritage (and intellectual property, let's not forget!), then here's a few things that I would love to see return - either as a White Dwarf codex, a full release or as part of an Allies supplement:
 - Adeptus Mechanicus
 - Eldar Exodites
 - Squats (you knew I'd have to say that!)
 - Genestealer Hybrids / Cults
I think that the Adeptus Mechanicus would make for an awesome new army/race in modern 40k. GW owns the intellectual property, the structure of the army and units thereof exists already, and the fluff sets them apart from any other race currently in the universe, so that a full codex release would be an original and totally different proposition to anything else currently out there. Of course, there are plenty of fandexes already in existence (the Tempus Fugitives version foremost amongst them), but a proper codex release with a full set of models would be most welcome.  
Who doesn't love steampunk cyborgs?
Of my other suggestions, the Eldar Exodites are a very intriguing proposition. Some suggest that their race is (in fluff terms) too small to warrant a full codex or range of models, but I would counter that by asking how many of you haven't faced up against Grey Knights in the last year or so? For a secretive and ultra-elite chapter, there seems to be more than enough of them to go around! The Exodites are a back-to-nature branch of Eldar, and would feature a mix of pre-fall Eldar technologies, natural psychic abilities and beast-riding knights. It is this latter point that some think mark Exodites as in some way 'not 40k' - that in the fortieth millennium, it should all be about spaceships, robots and big guns. Of course, those things are all very cool(!), but I think there is space for some earth-lovin' pixies Eldar too, right?  
Anyone who has read this blog, or my sister-blog Rogue Trader (on which I have slowly been posting my fandex creations) will know that my true love in 40k is Squats. I love the fluff, the old-school models, I love the whole vibe of tough, down-to-earth engineers building their own unique vehicles to survive in the most inhospitable worlds of the galaxy. Again I think that, along with the Adeptus Mechanicus and Exodites, Squats could make a positive return to 40k.
Just like the Exodites and the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Squats have their own unique feel and style, and their own iconic range of vehicles. These could be translated very easily into modern 40k, and would make - in my opinion anyway - a most welcome addition to the races currently available to collect in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.   
That's my thoughts on some of the races which I would like to see gain full Codex status.
How about you - what would you like to see come into Warhammer 40,000?
(Note - images copyright Games Workshop except where stated).


  1. First - completely agree that Nick Benton is a really good guy. I've been a couple of events at Warhammer world, and you couldnt wish for a nicer guy to chat to.
    Second - I think I'd like to see Exodites as part of the next eldar book. Just a couple of units, or an upgrade option on basic troop.
    I think the challenge with squats is that they used to be very small space marines (as far as I can tell. I was born, but not into the hobby back then). They need to re-imerge with a very distinct personally, and distinct playing style.
    Genestealer cults should be back, along with other ways for nids to be allied with other armies. least favourite of the 4 missing races listed, but as you say; who doesnt like steampunk cyborgs!

  2. I dont think you will see Squats any time soon, i think Jervis Johnstone was asked about them and said that they they needed to be something other than Dwarfs in space and they couldn't think of good enough fluff to make them a viable 40k race.

    Exodite i like, i would love to see dino rider elves kicking space marine butt. However the elder codex is now probably the most in need of an update so i cant see them ever incorporating and exodite unit/list in to it, it would be to different to a craftworld list that the codex favours.

    Genestealer hybrids not going to happen end off. If was to happen it would be in the nid codex and i think they took it all out around 3rd edition rules. Maybe worth for something like Zone Mortalis or kill team but that's it.

    I think there will be a Machinicus Codex in the future, however it will be done by the gents over in Forgeworld as it would give them the opportunity to build/design some more tanks (Ordinatus anyone?)however thats years away if ever as they are full of Horus Herasy at the moment.

    I would rather see something new , look how well the necrons and Tau work, i am sick of Spacemarine releases, bring us something new and scary, Space ogres with gatling lasers or some thing.

  3. Knight of Infinite Resignation12 March 2013 at 10:46

    I can certainly see Squats (demiurge)returning as part of an allies supplement. They appear in the back of the 6th edition rulebook, along with other abhumans, so why not? Mercenary squat bands would be perfect, and wouldn't even need retconning- lets just say that the Tyranids consumed their homeworlds but many mining colonies and traders survived so they are now a space borne race.

    Genestealer cults would be cool also as desperate allies for tyranids, representing the fact that the tyranids will probably eat them...

    But the race I'd really like to see is the Slann. They were my first 40K army and they had a deep place in the old fluff as The Old Ones.

  4. Of the four I listed, Ad-Mech are absolutely crying out for a full codex release. They have a clear and well-defined backstory, signature units and a firm place in the current fluff. I would love to see GW go to town and bring us a brand-new codex full of imaginative new models. I really think the community (I hate that phrase!) would welcome something totally original.

    Exodites are just a bit too fantasy-in-space to fit properly in modern 40k, which is a shame because again, they would be a unique and very eye-catching army. I think they'll remain one for the hardcore scratchbuilder. It would be great to think that in the future they could be released as a White Dwarf supplement, but I suspect that it couldn't happen in today's clime - WD is still just a glossy advertisement which we (some, anyway) foolishly pay for.

    Genestealer cultists are another modeller's army. You could simply use IG and modify the infantry to show genetic mutations - claws, heads etc. Of the four, they have the least potential to become a major race of their own. I think they would suit a White Dwarf supplement, perhaps providing rules for incorporating units of hybrids and magi onto Tyranid and IG armies.

    As for Squats, I know there is little chance if a return on GW's part which is a shame, but there does seem to be a desire from the community (ie, their customers!). It's strange that every other fantasy race is represented in space, and of course Dwarfs are one of the holy trinity of 'classic' fantasy races; that is, Dwarfs, Elves and Orcs.

    I'll agree that the Squats as they were in second edition 40k were quite flimsy and under-developed, but the Squats in Epic were a far more complete affair. They had the full works - realistic infantry choices, an interesting transport solution (how local government!) plus some seriously big vehicles. Land Trains and Moles could easily translate into 40k. Squats could easily become a strong and unique new mainstream codex, and I'm certain they would attract a large following. The stumbling point simply lies in GW's desire to bring back one of the core races that made the game popular back in the late eighties and early nineties. Is such a reversal on GW's part likely? No. But they are (were) a major race and they already have all the background and units in existence -especially from Epic. It wouldn't take much to bring 'em back...

  5. Was having a clear out the other day and came across one of my (very) old Epic Rhinos.

    Brought a tear to my eye, it really did.

    And made me feel pretty damn old.



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