Abuse Puppy says, “The lists you mentioned "going away" went away because they were bad, not because they were somehow trumped by SW. SM, BA, GK, IG, Tyranids, SoB, Tau, DE, Necrons, and BT all smash those lists easily as well.
SW may be prototypical for a Marine army in some ways (though not in others), but they are hardly the defining factor for armies these days."
|Long Fangs before there were Long Fangs|
I have to disagree with this analysis, because it’s looking at lists of the past based on current understanding of the game. You have to remember what the game environment looked like prior to the SW Codex, and I’ll sum it up with my next sentence…
Plague Marines were the best troop choice in the game, bar none.
Plague Marines in a Rhino with 2 Meltaguns and a champ with a Power Fist were Grey Hunters before Grey Hunters. Even at that time, Dual Lash Sorcerers were probably better choices than Daemon Princes, but the strength of Plague Marines was so overpowering relative to what other codices of the day could play that it they could compensate for the inefficiency of people taking Princes instead of Sorcerers.
Compared to Long Fangs and Psyflemen, Obliterators pretty much suck. But what was the other best shooty Heavy Support choice before Space Wolves that people actually played? Broadsides? Fire Prisms?! Nobody played Devastators. Nobody played Riflemen dreads. Nobody played Dakka Preds. Long Fangs didn’t exist. The IG codex and the “Leafblower-enabling” heavy support choices didn’t exist, either. So prior to Wolves and IG, Obliterators were the bees’ knees of Heavy Support choices.
By today’s standards, Chaos’ troops are good but overpriced, have expensive and bad HQ choices, and their other slots have poor synergy. But back then every other codex also had the same problems.
Remember before Space Wolves, GK, and BA psychic defense was more or less non-existent. That had a huge effect on Eldar. In 2008 and 2009, with Eldrad and another Farseer, you could plan your entire gameplan around Fortune and Doom every turn. And relative to the prevailing strategies of the day, that was a big deal. Jet Councils and Nob Bikers went away as people caught onto the fact that new (or previously under-utilized) units could trump them at a fraction of the price, not because they were weak at the time.
In a world where the best units in the game are Plague Marines and Obliterators, Nob Bikers are pretty great. In a world no one could shut down Fortune, and no one brought Autocannons or missiles en masse, Jet Councils are actually pretty good.
The final thing I want to touch on is that before Space Wolves, your troops choices sucked (except Plague Marines) and 5th Edition was a balancing act of bring enough Troops not to get blown out of objective missions put against actually having effective units. This is the result of 4th Edition codex design, ofcourse, and the fact that 5th Edition Tactical Squads weren’t good enough to change the paradigm. But Grey Hunters changed all that. They were effective, cheap, and had synergy with the rest of the army. Suddenly all the old codices using the old lists couldn’t win objective matches at all. That, more than anything else, is what forced out the old lists. When it was 3 shitty troops against 3 shitty troops in an objective mission, the old lists were actually good. When it became 3 shitty troops against 6 good troops, the old lists were pretty bad.
You can disagree if you like, but I strongly feel that if for some reason were were forced to turn back the clock and play 5th Edition with only the 4th Edition books, those same “bad” lists would win again.
Thoughts? Comments? Questions?