Sunday, February 20, 2011

The New GK Codex and Codex Creep

Looks like the new GK Codex is gonna be the go-to Inquisition codex, which means the Sisters codex rumored to be coming along the pipeline probably won't be.  Lately it seems like GW has been avoiding crossover between codexes (the notable exception being Harlequins in the new DE) so it makes me wonder if the Sisters codex is going to be an Ecclesiarchy codex rather than an Inquisition one.  This would provide opportunity for new unit types like confessors or missionaries, and new unit types means new models, and new models means $chaching$.

That's not really what I'm looking into here though, but rather the obvious concept of Codex CreepCodex Creep is the name used to describe how each newly released codex is slightly more powerful than the last.  Sometimes this can be very subtle or minimal, take for example Blood Angels and Space Wolves.  And sometimes it's really really not.  Example: Daemons and Imperial Guard.  This exists as a way to draw interest into the new armies and as a way to slowly progress the metagame.  Right now I want to look at a prime example of Codex creep by examining some identical units from Codex Witch Hunters and Codex Grey Knights.

Both of these are current codexes (GK isn't actually current, but enough of the leaked test codex has been passed around it's as good as for casual play) and both contain examples of the same units.  For instance let's look at Inquisitor Lord Fyodor Karamazov.

Witch Hunters:
205 pts WS4 BS5 S6 T5 W4 I5 A3 Ld10 Sv2+/4++
He's got the ability to give all units within 2d6" of him +1 attack for a turn, can choose to pass or fail any morale check, all friendly units within 12" of him can re-roll failed morale checks, and he's a Monstrous Creature.  He's got a Multi-melta that can fire even if he moves, and a master crafted power sword.

Grey Knights:
200 pts WS4 BS4 S5 T5 W4 I4 A3 Ld10 Sv2+
He loses the attack bonus power, and in its place is an Orbital Strike like a SM Chapter Master, except he can choose to center the blast marker on one of his own army's models, and if so, the blast doesn't scatter.  He can still choose to pass or fail morale, and his buddies still get the morale rerolls.  Instead of a Monstrous Creature he's now an IC, so can join a squad, though he can't embark in a vehicle.  His Multimelta has become Master Crafted, and he's got Relentless now, and he's got every grenade type known to man, plus some.  He's also still got his master crafted power sword.

So, let's look at the differences.  He loses a point of BS, but his only gun is now Master Crafted.  So he went from an 83% chance to hit to an... What's this?  83% chance to hit.  Same result.  Even Score.

His Strength has lowered by one, and he's no longer a monstrous creature, so his CC attacks are less effective against vehicles, but he now has Krak grenades to help make up for it, and Frag grenades to keep him in the game when he assaults units in cover.  His initiative is lower now, but we'll call the addition of Frag grenades about even, but the old Karamazov has an advantage in CC thanks to his higher Strength and his ability to take out vehicles.

Survivability is always an issue, so we'll look at that next.  While it seems obvious that the old Karamazov would have the advantage here with his 4++ thanks to a Rosarius, I'm actually going to give survivability to the new Karamazov for being an Independent Character.  Surround him with a unit of 10 GK Terminators and he's a hell of a lot harder to kill than the old one who succumbs quite readily to a single Railgun shot or Power Klaw if his save misses.  No wound allocation options means the new Karamazov is a definite winner.

Now, special abilities.  Everyone around him gets +1 attack seems pretty potent, but when compared to a S10 AP1 Heavy Blast that doesn't scatter (slap the center marker on any one of the GK heroes who have Eternal Warrior, take your pick) and you've got a hell of a lot more reliable method of dealing wounds, especially if your target friendly model is in close combat after a pile in.  Advantage New Guy.

So, in four categories: Shooting, Close Combat, Survivability and Special Abilities, we see that Karamazov has been outclassed by his new iteration two to one, despite the new fellow being five points cheaper.  And if no sudden changes happen it means two codexes will have two versions of the same Unique Character, and one is markedly better than the other, despite being cheaper.

Welcome to Codex Creep.  To be fair, it'll have been seven years to the month since Witch Hunters was printed when Grey Knights comes out, and currently Witch Hunters is the oldest codex in the game (Except Necrons, but who cares about those guys?).  So, the Oldest vs the Newest?  Definitely the newest wins.

And this is just one example of codex creep.  Take, for instance, 70 pt Chimeras in Witch Hunters vs 55 in Grey Knights, and the Witch Hunters still have to pay for the weapons that the GK get for free on that transport.  And the assassins...  Well, that's a post for another day.

PS: Dear Fyodor also seems to have been demoted, as he is now simply Inquisitor Karamazov, rather than Inquisitor Lord.  Maybe the extra points cost is for the title.

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