With the recent release of the new SM codex, as well as the less recent 6th ed codex's (codices?), I have been very happy with what GW has been doing with the armies so far and have been pondering/getting jealous of what is in them and what will hopefully be in the next Imperial Guard codex. First off I think all the new ones have been pretty darn good, with some being great and others being ok but still well balanced. I know many CSM players are not too happy but I still think it is a good codex, if somewhat bland. Before anyone gets their flamers warm I would like to add that I am with everyone that thinks they should have more, especially along the lines of what the marines just received. However I am a little tired of the complaining, its a good codex and there are more builds and ways to play it then many like to let on. Could it be better, yes. Is it probably the weakest of the 6th eds, yes. But that doesn't mean its weak, only that you are limited to certain builds if you are a competitive player, Me I am a fluff player and love to create fluffy armies, may make it harder to win but that's where good generalship comes in, and in the end if you have fun that's really the point. This is the crux of what these new codex's allow, many ways to play your army and have fun doing it without overbalancing units, for the most part (see helldrake). Any who that's enough on that.
What is great about the new codex's is that they really fit the fluff and feel of how these armies should be and do a great job of making the fluffyness playable, if not OP. The Chapter Tactics are a great example of this in the new SM codex. The detachment tactics for the Ultramarines really feel Ultra, the tactically flexible army that requires a good general to really excel at. Yet it doesn't just hand the player a victory. The rest of chapters got great bonuses as well and I can't wait to see the fluffy armies appear, Iron Hands is one I'm looking forward to seeing as well as Raven Guard. I know the BT players aren't too thrilled with being moved in but I like the fluffy rules they get and they have access to their crusader squads and the emperors champion is just plain awesome. And lets be clear, the old BT codex had some OP in it, oh you shot at me so I run now, I'm not sorry that is gone. And you have access to everything in the SM codex, all the goodies you never had before. Could they be in their own codex, maybe, but they really just have a few special characters and only one truly unique unit in the crusader squad. Sure you don't have named sword brethren, but they are essentially vanguard, call them what you want. The same is true of the other codex's as well, especially Tau and Eldar, they really do have an army that fits their fluff and has great options for play without being put into one or two builds. Are some better than others from a pure math hammer sense, sure. But I am of the belief of playing your style of play and not just what the odds say. I am an infantry guard player and that's how I like to play. Granted the current codex supports that well but there are better builds from a pure competitive perspective, but it's how I like to play. In the end you have to maneuver your army and use tactics to win, having a good army isn't enough. And for me I do better the fluffier I play, it gets me into the guard mindset.
Now with all the goodies other armies are getting I am starting to get excited on what my little army men could be receiving in a few months. I'm expecting something that is a cross between the Tau signature systems list and the relics that SMs get, the relics don't quite fit the guard army and I see there being more options. Would love to see some cool standards with more buffs than just re-rolls, and based off other codex's this is likely. Other than some cool personal equipment for characters, this also has the opportunity for some cool wargear that give army wide bonuses, or maybe even a pimped out Master of Ordnance upgrade (full basilisk bombardment, one use). I do love how the new special wargear and rules add depth and options to the army and I can't wait to see what is in store for the guard on that front. And they better keep orders! I need those and they are so guard its not even funny.
Some other wishes I want, a useful elites section! Mainly some serious points reductions, Storm Troopers and Ogryns are way over costed for what you get. Ogryns are a good assault unit but they still only have flak armor and no power weapons, so they rely on forcing saves. Which can work but you can do the same with a guard blob with power axes thrown in and do the same job a hundred points cheaper. The main issue with the elites as they are, is that what they do can be done with regular guardsmen or veterans at half the cost. Psyker battle squads aren't bad, but it would be great to have more options for them along the lines of the powers for eldar warlocks. But what I really want to see is an overhaul of the storm troopers. They have decent rules but need a serious points reduction and some cool guy toys. They are the SF/Shock elite of the Imperial Guard and are supposed to have access to the best wargear.... and all they get is a nifty lasgun. This is where they could shine in having boatloads of wargear options to give the real mission flexibility. Auspex, targeters, unique weapons, servo skulls, flash grenades, combi-lasguns, there are so many options that I could go on, and it would give someone a reason to take them over regular guardsmen, as well as being super fluffy and awesome, without being overpowered. I love the idea of stormtroopers, but right now they are a really expensive suicide squad, carapace armor only stops so much. They need a little more. When it comes right down to it, the only actual "elite" feeling choice is Marbo, and he is wonderful. Unfortunately he will most likely be out of the main codex as it sounds like it will be cadian only with supplements for other regiments :(. Oh well. The other reason I don't like the elites section is for fluff reasons, I don't like abhumans, I'm a "purist" guardsman I guess you could say, and the elites section is pretty much an abhuman dumping ground. Ratlings may be good snipers but I just don't like em, it may be my loss but I won't take em, just like rough riders 'cause riding horsies in the far future is fucking stupid. The Poles figured out how well they worked in WWII, you'd think it would be the same in the far future but I guess not.
Well to sum things up, I really hope the elites section gets some major loving in the next codex with points changes, rules updates, and lots more wargear options. Cool warlord traits like fire on my position or something like that would be amazing. Can't wait to see the relic wargear. And don't take away my orders! I of course have a much larger wish list in general and will discuss that soon, but this is really where I want to see lots of changes and mostly minor tweaks in points and wargear.
Damn, I'm going to have to get used to going it with out Marbo if the rumors are true. :(