Warhammer Legends: The Goonhammer Round Table Review

After months of speculation, Games Workshop finally released its new “Warhammer: Legends” rules, putting several older models to bed and effectively removing them from tournament play, if not our hearts. Here to talk about the new rules, what they mean, what we like about them, and what fell flat, are Tyler “Coda” Moore (of Cool and Good fame), Evan “Felime”, Cyle “Naramyth” Thompson, Craig “MasterSlowPoke” Sniffen, Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones, Alice “RagnarokAngel” Lirette and James “One_Wing” Grover. 

 

Warhammer 40,000

Broad Reactions

Credit: Cyle “Naramyth” Thompson

Naramyth

Overall nothing unexpected. Legends has been in the discourse since NOVA and with how the Marine book was suspiciously not printing some index options we all kind of saw the writing on the wall. Eldar losing banshee masks is a big blow and the Boyz-tide as we know it has been on the decline already, but the loss of the KFF* is huge. I know rumors of Forge World going away were circulating but I never really thought it would actually happen.  As much as I don’t like Forge World, GW has reacted quickly to anything truly oppressive out of the resin line. FW does still feel like the wild west when it comes to model rules though, and could use some real oversight and integration into internal codex balancing.  

*Wings Note: I realise this is still slightly up in the air, I’ll cover it in my section.

Felime

This is pretty much where this had to go. I don’t know how this is going to shake out exactly, but I’d bet money tournaments will no longer allow legends content. Your friends will probably be cool with playing with your biker characters if you’re playing friendly games. It’s unhealthy for the game balance to have content in regular circulation that GW is unwilling to invest resources in maintaining and balancing. If a legacy option exists and is allowed in regular play, the game needs to be balanced around it.

  • Bullshit wargear. All the random junk and cruft that has accumulated as options over the years. Power axes and mauls for guard. Bombs to stick on your deffcoptas. Things they no longer make models for. For the most part, this is really a nonissue. If you’re playing serious face matched play just play the model as having whatever the closest current equivalent is. Power axes are now power swords.The big choppa you used to be able to take is a klaw now. In the vast majority of cases you can still use your models just fine.
Classic Marneus Calgar

Classic Marneus Calgar. Credit: SRM

  • Superseded units. Stuff that’s got a modern equivalent. Trueborn (just play warriors), Bloodbrides (Normal Wyches basically became them). You can play with your primarisified characters and honor guard. Just run them as their primaris counterparts, they’re just a little swoler now. 

The next two categories are a bit more sad to see not maintained. They’ll likely fall out of regular play and get left behind as the rules move further and further ahead, but we knew they weren’t getting updated, and it’s healthy for the game that they not be regular units.

  • Removed character options. Smallmarine characters on a bike are now legends. This is somewhat sad for things like ravenwing and white scars. However, losing the Bike Librarian is good for the game. Psychic powers are no longer on a chassis an order of magnitude more mobile than GW intended. I’m also not sorry Orks lost a cheaper Kustom Force Field chassis. It’s not good for the game to have a lower pointed equivalent for a current unit that GW won’t change. It is a shame to lose some of the warboss options, though.
  • Completely removed units. RIP Rough riders. It’s sad, but nobody used a lot of this stuff anyways, and with GW no longer maintaining their rules, having them out of regular circulation is good for the game.

In summary: Legends is generally good. Removing unmaintained units is good for game balance and opens up design space. It’s a shame to lose some older models like Rough Riders or Legion of the Damned, along with some flavorful character options, but GW were never going to devote money to maintaining them properly. It’s good to have them out of competitive 40k, and you can still use your old models in friendly, more narrative focused games with friends.

 

 

Tech Priest Daedalosus

A Legends escapee. Credit: Pendulin

MasterSlowPoke

I’m not mad about Legends, I’m just disappointed. As they’ve done all of 8th, Games Workshop has given itself an opportunity to improve the game but pulled their punch at the last minute. Outside of the regrettable loss of a handful of Ork characters and the min-max options for Eldar and DE characters, nothing really is going to change with these units gone. The biggest source of gotchas, rules headaches, and galaxy brain takes still exists — the dreaded Forge World legacy options.

Sure, the Sentinel Power Lifter isn’t dominating the meta, but why get rid of the still-technically-available (but unfortunately named) Primaris Rhino if the long OOP Chaplain Dreadnought still gets to abuse rules written for mundane characters? The Spined Chaos Beast does nothing but clog the unit widget on Battlescribe. We know that no one at GW has ever considered the Badab War characters Harath Shen, Sinciput Zapruder, Silas Albrec, Elam Courbray or Zhrukhal Adrocles when writing a single rule for the new Space Marine codex. I even made one of those names up, and you didn’t even notice! The Inquisitorial Land Raider Prometheus won’t be found on any top table, but you know it’s going to be the fun-sponge for anyone who finds it on the other side of the 3-2 tables at a GT.

GW would lose nothing by moving these models into Legends, and instead they’re just feeding money to recasters when a rules quirk makes it so one of these OOP Forge World units becomes a meta darling. Hopefully the long-rumored GW Design Studio update of the Forgeworld indices is coming, any they’ll finally use that opportunity to put these tired units out to pasture. 

Legends would also be a great place to stick the models that didn’t get a whole lot of playtesting. We have already seen this with the Red Gobbo, who got Legended before he could hand out a single Stikkbomb. There’s a smorgasbord of Blackstone Fortress characters that really have no business being in competitive 40k. Daedalosus clearly never received any editorial oversight. Removing him would hurt Admech, for sure, but their balance shouldn’t be dictated by a random one-off character. The Ambull exists solely to disappoint anyone trying to use it in a clever way to fill out a detachment (it can’t). Legends is a perfect place for these misfits, allowing them to be used in casual games as intended.

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

TheChirurgeon

For me, not having any Forge World units in Legends makes the whole thing suspect. While you can argue that there were a few pretty good things in the list of what was added to Legends, the reality is that none of this stuff was dominating tournaments (though I believe the Techmarine on a bike would probably have become a sudden major pain in the ass thanks to the new rules for Masters of the Forge in Faith and Fury). So when I see that Chaos Lords on Beasts of Slaanesh are suddenly out but Venerable Chaplain Dreadnoughts – which haven’t been sold for years – are still in, it puts a real bad taste in my mouth. This isn’t about balance. Tournaments could keep allowing Legends and it’d make no difference outside of that bike techmarine and I’m sure we’re less than a year away from a new Primaris Techmarine on Hoverbike or whatever to make that worry meaningless.

Otherwise, whatever. I don’t expect everything to stay officially supported forever. Though while we’re on the subject of Juggernauts, Games Workshop took the time to give every Space Marines unit the Angels of Death rule, but didn’t bother to give the Chaos Space Marines units Hateful Assault. The reason I don’t take my juggernaut lord isn’t because he doesn’t have official sanction, it’s because he sucks ass.

Credit: Adam Pratt, Painter. Photography by James Aguiar

CODA’S COOL AND GOOD TAKE:

I have a long standing, totally normal and good vendetta against space marines on bikes, so the legend changes are pretty rad imho.

Actually I kid, I’m a little sad for the White Scar players out there that are going to be hit by this the hardest. The image of a horde of marine bikes armed with lances in a wedge formation is a powerful one. However I can see why GW did this. The marine codex is already insanely bloated and frankly the Biker Marines element is covered off fairly well by Ravenwing. 

With that said though, would it have killed them to put these options in the White Scars supplement?  

Looking further abroad, Chaos Lords on juggernauts is a classic model that I’ll sorely miss but then again, I can’t remember the last time I saw one the field which seems to be a theme with a lot of these models.

The only massive bugbears I can think of is the killing off of Autarch options. If I was ever going to play Eldar, this change has killed it for me. The idea of making my own space elf warrior sage is extremely rad and GW needs to bring it back ASAP. In fact, the one thing I would change about 8th ed is giving HQ units back some of their options. 

The same goes for Mega Armour Warbosses. There are many, many people out there with converted Gaz’s that are going to be rightfully pissed about this change. Hopefully GW gives the Ork’s some love asap in a PA book with some mega armour prime ork action.

On a final note, the first White Dwarf I ever read had Paul Sawyer’s White Scars vs some chaos, the stand out unit of the game was a chaplain on a bike, who killed many a spikey lad. I’m going to have a quite brew and have a bit of a think about what we are losing vs what we are gaining from consigning these units to the dusty halls of history. 

One_Wing

This is a positive change for the competitive game. Flatly, since the release of the Eldar Codex it’s been incredibly clear that Index options were a problem – sad though I am to lose mine, if all Bike Autarchs were supposed to ignore overwatch for free it would say so on their codex datasheet (also there wouldn’t be an entire warlord trait for it, lol). There have been plenty of other weird edge cases where interactions between indexes and codexes have either caused weird imbalances (Ork Kommandos getting free burnas because their price changed to be “built in” to Burna Boyz) or forcing hurried FAQs (the stimulant injector in Tau). I’m very glad to see that Frontline Gaming have, after all, decided to get rid of these from the LVO as other TOs will overwhelmingly follow their lead (except for all the European ones who’ve banned index options anyway who I guess can now say they were ahead of the game).

My only real niggle is a few weird inconsistencies inevitable in the first run of this sort of thing.

First up – what is a “Big Mek with Kustom Force Field”? We just don’t know, but it has a cost in Chapter Approved and everything. Clearly, however, it is not just a description of the regular foot Big Mek, because that’s right here in Legends. So uh, can Orks take one? Is it something from Saga of the Beast extremely jumping the gun? We’re going to have to wait for some FAQs to find out. On that note, it is just the tiniest bit salt-inducing for everyone else losing bike characters that Orks do get to keep the Warboss on Warbike option just because it happens to have a Forge World kit kicking around. Horde Orks probably need the help right now so fair play, but it comes across very weirdly.

Bonesinger

Goodnight sweet prince. Credit: Wings

Lastly, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t complain about the scoundrels who have raised my hopes and then cruelly dashed then. I was very excited to see my Bonesinger get a cut to 55pts in Chapter Approved – it still didn’t make him good but probably mildly more likely to get chucked in a fun army when I had some points free.

That turned out to be a lie, a damned lie put forward by Bonesinger-hating cowards at GW who enjoy crushing my dreams (probably the same ones who decided not to Legends Forge World) and want me to suffer.

I literally used this model as the inspiration for my avatar on this site. This wasn’t random, this was targeted. I’m on to you GW. Oh yes.

Technically of course legends published today and Chapter Approved has a publication date of Saturday so by “last book wins” the Bonesinger’s stay in Legends is extremely brief, but I don’t actually believe for a second that that’s going to fly, not since the mini rulebook transpired not to have actually been a diabolical scheme intended to undo all errata.

More practically, I can now just use him as a Warlock or Spiritseer without worrying about confusing people, so I’ll actually use it a tonne more, and now I love GW again and all is right with the world.

Faction Analysis

Battle Sisters

Battle Sisters. Credit: RichyP (yes he’s finished the whole box already, no none of the rest of us want to talk about it)

Adeptas Soritas

Naramyth: Lost Uriah Jacobus, which is a bit of a shame. A named priest was nice to have running around. I have no memory of Arch-Confessor Kyrinov.

RagnarokAngel: Jacobius getting taken out back was surprising but given they got a whole new codex I don’t think anyone is going to be too terribly upset.

One_Wing: Uriah got the glowing endorsement of “probably don’t bother with him over a basic missionary” when I reviewed him so, uh, I think sisters players will cope. Losing wargear options is the more relevant thing here – Sisters players would absolutely have taken the storm bolter option on Superiors and the eviscerator on Canonesses all over the shop if they’d kept them.

 

Catachan Rough Riders. Credit: BuffaloChicken

Astra Militarum

Naramyth: The 15 models I had to slog through for LVO last year will never hit the table again. Goodbye Rough Riders, you were always the most interesting unit to think about converting before just giving in and using DKoK Calvary. Also a bunch of power axe/maul options were removed. I guess I can put chainswords back on my 5 power axe sergeants from the Azblob days.

TheChirurgeon: Rough Riders going away stinks. Mounted Guard are a cool idea, even if they aren’t horses and hopefully we get something like this back because we haven’t seen a new Astra Militarum model except for Marbo in what, 4 years?

It’s also weird that Forge World went untouched because Death Korps keep their mounted infantry.

One_Wing: I’ve actually seen Rough Riders in a surprising number of tournament lists, usually filling out Fast Attack slots in a Brigade. Being able to deep strike unaided tends to make them more appealing here than Scout Sentinels that tend to wander forward and immediately die pointlessly.

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Chaos

Chaos Daemons

TheChirurgeon: The only loss was the Herald of Slaanesh on a Steed, who has been replaced by newer plastic Heralds on Seeker Chariots and Hellflayers. Those datasheets just got re-published in Chapter Approved 2019.

Chaos Space Marines

Naramyth: You guys lost all your alternate mounts. Steeds, Palanquins, Disks, and Juggernauts are all out. 

TheChirurgeon: Bike Chaos Lords and Sorcerers too. The Sorcerer on Bike is probably the biggest loss here — there were some lists I’ve seen running bike squads that get a boost from a mobile source of Prescience to boost their massive amount of firepower. There was also probably a fun combo to run with Lords on Steeds of Slaanesh, but nothing to happen there. These are fun conversion options that I’m sad we’ve lost, given how little they mattered competitively. And again I’ll reiterate that I’m pretty miffed they couldn’t be bothered to give the Chaos Space Marine datasheets the Hateful Assault rule, given that they had time to update all the Space Marines ones.

The upside is that Emperor’s Children Sonic Dreadnoughts are still around, because they’re basically an FAQ-given option to give a Helbrute Blastmasters. And they’re much cheaper now!

Death Guard

TheChirurgeon: Chaos Lords on Palanquins are gone, and Death Guard Chaos Lords and Sorcerers with Jump Packs have also been moved here. Not a big loss, either. If you want a jump sorcerer you can just add a detachment of Chaos Space Marines, which you want to do anyways so you can get some of the good powers and stratagems.

Thousand Sons

Naramyth: The big hit is jump sorcerers. Granted Thousand Sons have bigger issues re: Plaguebearers and Tzengors going up in Chapter Approved, but this certainly feels like being kicked while they are down.

TheChirurgeon: Terminator Sorcerers were the bigger deal anyways (though they basically lost all of their weapon options, for some reason. It seriously makes no sense, given that all those bits come packaged on the sprue in the Terminator Chaos Lord/Sorcerer box) If they want mobile sorcerers, the Thousand Sons still have the Exalted Sorcerer on Disc of Tzeentch as an option.

 

Credit: Corrode

Dark Eldar

Naramyth: Blood Brides and Trueborn. Again, my only real memory of any of this was Trueborn in Venom blaster busses, but again that is just from the Great Before Time. 

RagnarokAngel: Was hoping for Vect rules here for posterity. No such luck.

One_Wing: Blasters on Archons is the big deal here, and honestly taking the option out is probably why they’ve been able to pit up such a precipitous point drop. Because Blasters had 18″ range Archons could act as a nasty thorn waiting in Drukhari lines to prick anything that came too close and helped them play herohammer in the late game. Drukhari have gotten a bit of a kicking anyway in CA and this really doesn’t help them at all, though the point change is definitely nice.

 

Kitted Up Bike Autarch

Kitted Up Bike Autarch. Credit: Wings

Eldar

Naramyth: They lost the never-taken Autarch with Warp Generator and the Bonesinger, but most importantly all the Autarch good wargear (Read Banshee Mask).  Eldar are gonna have to eat overwatch like the rest of us. 

RagnarokAngel: Going in to Legends the first thought in the front of my mind is “What are they doing with Autarchs?”. For those catching up, Autarchs are the space marine captains of the Eldar, and one of their defining traits is they can carry almost any piece of wargear, and this was present in the Indexes that came with the launch of 8th edition. GW shifted to a new policy at the beginning of 8th: Codexes will only use wargear that comes in the box of that unit. A nice sentiment, intended to make things easier for those jumping into the game now rather than 3 editions ago, but it didn’t take much to see what the problem was here. When Codex: Craftworlds hit, Autarchs had pathetic weapon choices, because that’s what the box came with. GW’s fixed involved this very stupid flowchart that basically said you could use index weapons if they weren’t in the codex, backpedaling the very change they were trying to make in the first place. So Legends seemed to be the time to fix this.

I still don’t know what the hell is going on. 

My assumption is that flow chart is now to be ignored and we’re supposed to just go off the codex, with the expanded weapon options being a Legends only thing. On a competitive meta level, this probably doesn’t mean a whole lot. Nobody was taking Autarchs not on bikes anyway, though the loss of versatility and customization on the foot and with wings kinda sucks.

TheChirurgeon: The Bonesinger is a great model and only got rules post-Indices as an afterthought. Goodnight, sweet prince. The most amazing part for me is that the Bonesinger is the only model in both the Munitorum Field Guide AND Legends — the other models don’t have updated points in Chapter Approved 2019 — and his updated cost for CA19 is 55 points while his Legends cost, the one not balanced for competitive play, is 70 points. puts on a chef hat, kisses fingers Just the most half-assed nonsense.

One_Wing: Index option Bike Autarchs were extremely powerful and this hurts like hell, for all that it was clearly correct for them to lose them. Because I’m filthy euro-trash I’ve played in plenty of events where Index kit wasn’t allowed anyway, and the Bike Autarch was always a disappointment if I took him. He doesn’t hit hard enough without both the fusion gun and the laser lance, and I expect him to fall out of favour in the immediate term. I do wish the foot Autach had a reason to exist or some sort of clear reason why his wargear is “a star glaive” since there isn’t, you know, a model for it. Maybe there’s a plastic kit stuck in development hell somewhere. Ironically, after chopping up my one to turn him into an Archon I probably now need one again. RIP me.

 

 

Credit: Kevin Genson

Orks

Naramyth: Coming in hot, they are The Biggest Loser by far in the Legending. A lot of common units in competitive armies will be lost on the Legends shelf, like tears in the rain. Goodbye Warboss in Mega Armor, Big Mek, and Big Mek on Bike with Kustom Force Field. Others losses are Warbuggies, Big Gunz, and some wargear off of the Koptaz. I know their bombs were experimented with early in the Codex.

One_Wing: I think the only time I’ve seen deffkoptas on the table they had the bombs, so the above sounds legit. However, I strongly suspect Ork players are too busy holding their Bike Warbosses close to get too mad about this stuff, and once the inevitable FAQs land for this and CA we’ll know what’s going on with the KFF Mek.

 

Imperial Space Marine

Imperial Space Marine. Credit: SRM

Space Marines

Naramyth: You lost all your character bikes, index dread arms, weird combi options on Chaplains/Librarians, Basically all Techmarine options that are not the servo harness, and Primaris’d named characters. I’m not surprised at all with any of this since none of these sheets are in the main rule book and the thing I hated painted the most in the space marine range was bikes, however RIP my Chaplain on Bike I just painted like 2 weeks ago. The only real thing that saw play was autocannon arms on dreads  A surprise for me was the normal Honour Guard honestly. Also gonna pour one out for Gunum since his “prized” Excelsior is forever on the shelf with the rest of land raider kind.

Blood Angels

TheChirurgeon: Goodbye Chaplains, Librarians, Techmarines, and Sanguinary Priests on bike. Also joining them is the datasheet for old Mephiston, so it’s Primaris-or-Nothing, but Primaris Mephiston costs the same as old Mephiston points-wise anyways. Company Veterans, Company Ancients, Company Champions, and Sanguinary Novitatiates lost their Jump Pack options. Characters lost their Index Wargear options.

 

Credit: Axis of Entropy

Dark Angels

Naramyth: Belial lost his alternate builds. I didn’t know he had alternate builds. 

One_Wing: Bike characters probably hurt here the most other than in White Scars

Deathwatch

TheChirurgeon: The Deathwatch lose some Chaplain and Librarian gun options. The big loss here is that you can’t give either character a Storm Bolter, making Deathwatch Chaplains even more useless. 

Grey Knights

TheChirurgeon: The losses here are some wargear options for Dreadnoughts, Techmarines, and Venerable Dreadnoughts. Dreadnoughts lose Autocannons, Twin Heavy Bolters, and Twin Heavy Flamers, and Techmarines lose a bunch of weapon options, including the conversion beamer.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Legion of the Damned

Naramyth: SMALL MARINES GOT SQUATTED, STRAIT UP! Ok, Maybe just Legion of the Damned, but their whole datasheet is gone. Sorry Little John, the dream of an all legion army is dead.

TheChirurgeon: For a minute there, I was really hoping they were going to try to create an incredibly contrived explanation of how the Legion of the Damned got Primaris marines into their ranks. I guess no one needs the Legion’s help now that Guilliman’s back.

Space Wolves

Naramyth: I remember Iron Priests on Thunderwolves were a thing in 7th but I don’t remember seeing one this edition. Losing Lone Wolves is disappointing. They were a cute way to get more characters. They also lose bike options for characters.

One_Wing: I have had a heavy bike character Wolf list come at me at an event in the hands of a good player so I suspect this does actually matter. However, it’s arguably a good demonstration of why this was a good thing to do, because otherwise come the Wolfs getting a whole bunch of new options in (probably) Saga of the Beast there would have been every chance something broken would emerge.

 

Inquistion

Naramyth: Lost Null Rods. Next!

 

Tyranids

Naramyth: Lost Spine rifles and Stranglewebs? I guess they were gaunt guns? Huh.

 

Credit: Skails

Age of Sigmar: Legends or The-World-That-Was

RagnarokAngel: Look at these dorks in power armor complaining about retired models. Yeah right kids we’ve been doing this for a while.

The introduction of the legends line here didn’t do a whole lot on the Age of Sigmar, since the core concept has fundamentally existed since AoS launched in 2016. As is well known, in The End Times fluff most every major character died, ascended to godhood (like Teclis or Tyrion) or transformed into something else entirely (e.g. Nagash or Alarielle), making their old models obsolete. In order to somewhat lessen the blow from this, GW updated the warscrolls of many of these characters, including the dead armies of Brettonia and Tomb Kings to Age of Sigmar. Given launch AoS had little in the ways of fluff it was meant to contribute to the sandbox nature of the game.

As the game moved on these Legends lagged behind, but still saw periodic updates. There was a point where they tried to give them points but that seems to have gone away over time. Short version, you can’t use these in matched play, which isn’t entirely unexpected given how most of them don’t slot in particularly well with any of the supported Armies. You might think they would, but the keywords have changed. Skaven actually lack of the Skaven keyword and are named Skavenblight instead of Skaventide as they are in the battletome. The rest follow a similar pattern. Beastmen lack the Beasts of Chaos keyword, and so on. They don’t even have Grand Alliance keywords, so in short they were designed for use only in open or narrative play and that’s fine. That’s the role they serve and so that’s what they do.

Curiously however, Games Workshop has seemed to have slowly erased Brettonia and Tomb Kings over time. Initially they were supported with a free warscroll primer, they even had Grand Alliance keywords so if you wanted to run your Brettonians as a pure Order force that was a valid strategy. Seems like over time those are gone, though you can still find those warscrolls on Azyr or the Warscroll Builder so all is not entirely lost if you really wanted to dig them out of the closet and play a game.

So what does this Legends launch mean for Age of Sigmar? Basically nothing, this was 40k’s time in the spotlight and nothing really changed in the AoS front. Age of Sigmar is going through a period of streamlining, compressing some armies together into one book and throwing some models out in the snow in the meantime, most notably the big purge before Cities of Sigmar came out. These models warscrolls still exist, just not here. They’re in the Azyr app and Warscroll builder. Given it’s an easier way to distribute these rules, and 40k lacks a similar (official) list builder app, GW is probably choosing to favor this method to distribute Legends rules for this game.

 

 

Play How You Want

Look, you can still play with all this stuff if you want — nothing is stopping you from fielding any of it in casual games, and almost none of it was degenerate anyways. These are passing into Legends because they represent models and options from a long-passed era when Games Workshop produced fewer plastic kits and encouraged more customization on models. If you want to play with these casually and have a sweet model you want to field, you should absolutely work out playing these with your opponent, and house rule whatever new stuff hasn’t been added to their datasheets (COUGH Hateful Assault COUGH). And if you are doing a bunch of casual games, why not try running them as part of a campaign? Just sayin’.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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