A few months ago, when everybody was flicking through the new Codex for Chaos Space Marines, I noted there were no new special characters in the first 40K 6th Edition Codex.
#1 – Warhammer 40K 5th Edition and Special Characters
This was – and is – quite a major break from what everyone was accustomed to in Warhammer 40K 6th Edition. Every single Codex released during Warhammer 40K 5th Edition received a few new special characters to flesh out and personalize the faction.
Some, even had to add characters in ways that felt unnecessary and forced. The addition of the Tyranids’ Swarmlord in particular, which necessitated a wholesale ret-con of the time-honoured Hive War background (barely a year after the Space Marines Codex gave a far more faithful rendering of it), only to add the oxymoron of a named Tyranid character.
The culmination of the 5th Edition Special Character binge was no doubt its last codex: Necrons. Necrons got a thorough (IMO much-needed) re-write that turned te rather flat and uninspiring “mindless robots” theme to a set-up, which is now more accommodating to a hobby that still thrives (ever since the brilliant addition of GW’s official DIY-Space Marines pass in the form of the Codex Astartes background) on people personalizing their armies; making them their own.
#2 – Chaos Space Marines in 6th Edition – Once is a Fluke?
Chaos Space Marines came along. Since (I believe) the 4th Edition Dark Angels Codex in 2007, the new Chaos Space Marines Codex is the first that did not add a single new named character to the Warhammer 40K universe.
Of course, it could’ve simply been a fluke, one-time occurrence.
- Chaos Space Marines already have a solid amount of very cool Characters, many of them key to the entire 40K storyline. Adding more could’ve been seen as excessive.
- Chaos Space Marines were the first 6th Edition Codex. It would’ve been more than understandable if the game-designers focused on getting the basics right, ignoring the (for the core game) more marginal addition of special characters.
#3 – Dark Angels in 6th Edition – Twice is a Trend?
Now the Codex Dark Angels is here. It gives updated rules for all the classic Dark Angels characters: Azrael, Belial, Sammael, Ezekiel and Asmodai.
It does not, however, add any new special characters to the game. Even the limited edition Interrogator-Chaplain Seraphicus from the Dark Vengeance box was added only with a FAQ-addon, as if Games Workshop had already forgotten all about him.
Admittedly, Interrogator-Chaplain Asmodai is a “revival” from the even older 3rd Edition Codex for Dark Angels. It’s great to see him back, and with a new miniature to boot. Sadly, 10th Company Veteran-Sergeant Naaman did not receive the same honour.
#4 – Are we Seeing a New Policy?
Once is a fluke, twice is a trend? Are we seeing a new desgin-policy on Games Workshop’s part for Warhammer 40K? Has the development of Special Characters been shelved in favour of adding new units, unit-variants and, above all, new vehicles and flyers to the various armies of Warhammer 40K, as they are updated to 6th Edition?
If so, is that good or bad?
What will it mean for the armies rumoured to be updated soon, such as Tau Empires, Black Templars (both featuring rather few special characters) or Eldar (blessed with an abundance of them, though many in need of new rules and/or miniatures)?
Let me know what you think!