All the latest online rumours suggest that the next year or so will see two new codexes for Chaos Space Marines in Warhammer 40,000. These are tipped to be ‘Chaos Legions’ and ‘Chaos Renegades’.
The unpopularity of the current CSM codex is well known by anyone who owns an interweb. It remains to be seen whether the new ones will be better received.
To be fair however, any Chaos codex is going to be an extremely difficult proposition. A Chaos force can be based around any of the following:
1) The original nine Traitor Legions, each with their own unique character.
2) Renegade chapters who have turned to Chaos since the Heresy.
3) Cultists, mutants, traitor Guard and other scum.
5) Warbands made up of forces drawn from all of the above.
Plus, all of the above can be dedicated to one or more of the ruinous powers, or to Chaos Undivided. There is clearly a lot that any Chaos codex worthy of the name has to cover.
This is a difficult challenge for any Codex writer so splitting things into two books might be a wise move. The test will be whether both books can be well executed.
With Chaos Legions in particular, in order to satisfy Chaos players everywhere they will have to create a balanced list that allows players to represent all nine of the original Traitor Legions without any of them being either overpowered or underpowered. I hope that they do find a way to incorporate all this into a single list and that GW do not have to resort to variant lists. The problems with variant lists are three fold. One, they tend to be based on fairly narrow and stereotypical interpretations of the background and help perpetuate and exaggerate those stereotypes. Two, they are frequently not very well balanced as they generally get less play-testing than the core lists. Three, variant lists often work based on a core list that ends up artificially restricted in order to ‘create’ the extra options for the variant list.
It will be interesting to see how much scope there is to personalise your own army within the list. With some like the Black Legion or Word Bearers it should be relatively easy, but with the Thousand Sons or World Eaters, the options would presumably be more limited. Perhaps it will be the role of the Renegade codex to allow players to field a non-World Eaters Khornate army or a non-Thousand Sons Tzeentch army. Although the Black Legion should allow some flexibility in this regard.
We might also see some fleshing out of the units available to some of the legions that have historically had fairly restricted choices. Those players who remember the days of the Cannon of Khorne and the Doom Blaster would probably welcome a diversification of the all-chainaxe-all-the-time approach to Khornate and World Eater armies that has become the norm.
It’s early days yet and time will tell if the upcoming books will satisfy some, most, all or none of the Chaos fans out there champing at the bit for new rules. But whatever the outcome we should at least acknowledge the scale and complexity of the task before we rush to judgement.