I'll start with a warning, this is very text heavy and long!
So there have been a few more rumours floating around about the new guard codex and while a lot of these are still very rough and vague I still thought that I might put down a few thoughts about the rumours. To be honest I'm not liking a number of these rumours and hope that most of them don't turn out to be true but I suspect that I will be very disappointed with the new book.
The codex itself is apparently slated for Feb 2023! Were supposed to be getting a new edition in June 2023, just 4 months later! I'm really disappointed by this possibility, to be looking at having waited over 5 and a half years for a codex only to have a new edition drop just months after feels really bad. There is some hope for us though, as there is talk that the codex has been set up for the next edition, so all might not be lost. In addition part of this late release has been due to issues balancing the codex, not just internally but with other codices. There have apparently been multiple rewrites as it was initially far to powerful, this might be because they are trying to make to codex more elite, more of a Cadian Veterans codex rather than the mass recruits it has been. Personally I really don't like this idea and hope that they don't try and take it more elite. The guard should be about mass ranks of poorly trained and equipped soldiers charging across no-mans land and bayoneting the enemy.
To this end they are supposed to have removed all the custom regiment traits options and skinned it down to just a handful of options, some sources say just 4 options, Cadian, Tanith, Kreig and Catachan. This sounds like a terrible idea and one I'm not sure about. I haven't read the new Votann book but there are apparently custom traits in there, so I find it strange that they would have removed the guard ones if the new squats have them. I could understand reducing the number of options or restricting the options but I can't see them removing them completely. As for only having 4 options for regiments, I don't see this either. We didn't have masses of them anyway, really just 7 for guard and 7 for scions, which is similar to most other codicies. Considering the guard as as varied and different as can possibly be, limiting the options to 4 seems very odd. One thing that could be said to off set this is the rumour that we can mix and match regiments traits within the army. Now there doesn't seem to be any specifics about how this will.work.but I figure that it will.work one of two ways, either you will choose a key word, say infantry, and all of the infantry will receive X trait and all vehicles will receive Y traits or we will be able to bring multiple patrol (and maybe spearhead) detachments in an army without costing any CP's, as long as certain conditions are met. I don't see us being able to just give every different unit a different trait and having one infantry squad having one trait and the next squad a completely different one. That would just be far to complicate and potentially overly powerful.
Alongside these changes there are a number of changes to units, some sound good but most sound terrible. First up there are a number of units that are said to be deleted from the book, namely veteran squads, special weapons squads and conscripts. Now I could see them removing special weapons squads but the others? Veteran squads have been part of the codex since the beginning and are deeply ingrained in the lore of the guard as are conscripts. I could see them modifying both units slightly but not removing them altogether. All three of these units can be made from the standard infantry boxsets so it's not like they don't have official models, so are removed for that reason. I was disappointed to loose our platoons but at least we kept the various units but if we loose these units the old guard is well and truly dead.
As well as loosing units, our basic infantry squad is supposed to be getting an overhaul and not in a good way. We are to loose the ability to take heavy weapons in squads, probably due to there not being heavy weapons in the basic infantry box but we are to gain an extra special weapon instead. This changes the way infantry squads have always operated and will also invalidate a large chunk of.my own squads! Back in the day infantry squads use to be sold with heavy weapons, that's how fundamental they were to the squads, so to remove them just doesn't sit well with me. The extra special weapon I guess is to compensate for this and also for the removal of veteran squads as well. Personally I think it's a bad move.
The next is less of a removal and more of a side step. Heavy weapons squads are out and Field Ordinance Batteries (hence forth F.O.B's) are in. There are two separate rumours floating around about this, the first is that heavy weapons squads are out and that the new F.O.B's are in but not as a direct replacement. The new units will be a heavier version with heavy heavier weapons, such as the heavy mortar and laser destroyers. The second rumour is that it's just a straight name swap with some minor rules changes, potentially updated weapons profiles. I think this latter rumour is more likely due to the leaked image we saw a few weeks back, where you could see some heavy weapons teams on the background, all of which looked like slightly updated models of the current teams. All I can say is that I hope we get plasma cannons or multimeltas in the new kits, as it would be nice to finally get some! Apart from that, I don't think going from heavy weapons squads to F.O.B's will make much difference.
Another unit change is to tank commanders, which are said to be moving from bs3 to bs4 but with a plus one to hit with turret weapons. This seems like a bit of a silly change and completely unnecessary. Tank commanders are not going to be better commander but better crews as well, they'll have the best drivers, gunners and kit, so having them all be bs3 makes sense, changing them to bs4 doesn't make sense, and the plus one to hit makes even less. If they are trying to nerf tank commanders why not just make them a one per detachment unit, that would reduce their impact on the table top and keep in with the fluff, a lot more efficient that messing with their bs.
Now on to the few good changes to the codex, although it's a bit of a stretch to say even that! I guess it's more just not bad changes than good ones. Anyway, firstly there is the changes to command squads, with the combined command squad back again, with officers being in a unit with the rest of the command squad, like it use to be. In addition the whole unit will gain the character keyword, which will increase survivability significantly. I wonder if they will bring the other advisers back in to the squad as well, although si suspect that they won't and will leave them as individual characters as they are.
The scions as said to receive a boost as well, with their lasguns going from 18 to 24 inch range as standard with exploding 6's to hit. While I think the first part is welcome, I wonder if the second will be a standard feature or part of a doctrine. I would be surprised is it was a standard thing rather than part of a doctrine but I'll take it either way.
Lastly we have the deathstrike, which is apparently going to receive a significant boost to bring it more inline with where it should always have been, with the ability to dish out multiple mortal wounds across a wide number of units, doing significant damage to an energy army. The only down side is that there is supposed to be an equally significant price hike but I'm perfectly happy with that, the deathstrike should always have been a very expensive but hugely powerful weapon of mass destruction that was feared by your enemy.
In addition to the changes to the units in the codex there are a number of units that are not in the codex but will make an appearance. There seems to be three new units that are pretty much confirmed, these being the new Rough Riders, Kasrkins and the new Royal Dorn tank. However, there now seems to be some extra information on some of these. The Kasrkins are all but confirmed as a Kill Team release for I to the dark and it seems that we will see them in either 3 or 6 months time with a main box release, which if it's in 6 months that would tie in with the new guard codex release, however, I suspect that it will be the one in 3 months, ready for the Xmas release to drive up some hype for the codex in the new year. The other information is about the Rogal Dorn tank which is apparently actually called the Praetorian tank, as Rogal Dorn was the Praetorian of Terra. I for one think that Praetorian is significantly better than Rogal Dorn.
Lastly there is some talk of the new Combat Patrol box for guard. The box is said to have a command squad, two Cadian infantry squads, a field ordinance battery and a sentinel. Now this sounds very light on points to me. Currently a company commander, command squad, two infantry squads, a heavy weapons squad and a sentinel only costs 280 points with most upgrades being free. A combat patrol box is supposed to be around 500 points, maybe with a few upgrades to make the points but there is no way you could make 220 points in upgrades on these units. The only way you could reduce that gap is to increase the points significantly, which would basically mean your running t3 space marines. Which is just rubbish. I think there either has to be the new tank in there or were barking up the wrong tree all together.
All this considered I am really worried about where the next guard codex maybe taking us. Thai is the first time I can remember being genuinely worried about the upcoming codex and worried for the future of my forces, which may find themselves invalidated overnight. I hope that many of these rumours prove to be inaccurate or ever outright false, however I suspect that many of them will be accurate, far more than I would like.