Witch Hunters: what does the future hold?

As a part-time Inquisition player I’ve been pretty excited about the release of the new Grey Knights codex.  This was mainly because I was keen to see what Games Workshop might have planned for my beloved Ordo Hereticus.

Over the last couple of years I’ve been involved in many (sometimes heated!) discussions on the net about the direction GW should take in terms of the Inquisition in 40k.  In all of these, I’ve been pretty firm in my prediction that the Witch Hunters as we know them would disappear, all of the Inquisition would be put in one book with the Grey Knights, and the Sisters of Battle would be paired with Ecclesiarchy units in another book.  Now it seems that so far I am right, and I still think we will see the other book in pretty much the form I predict.  But I have to say that so far it hasn’t turned out exactly as I imagined or hoped.

It’s strange, but I always imagined these books as Codex: Inquisition and Codex: Ecclesiarchy.  To my mind these are the important over-arching organizations that bind a bunch of smaller elements together.  The Grey knights and the Sisters of Battle are (in practice at least) arms of the Inquisition and the Ecclesiarchy respectively.  For some reason – probably wishful thinking – I never imagined that the Grey Knights would take to the fore and the Inquisitors would be relegated to the back seat.  It seems obvious now, but then hindsight is like that.  I also just assumed that there would be some option for Inquisitors to use Guardsmen (or something similar) as troops.  How wrong I was.

I never thought the Sisters sat that well with the Inquisition, and I’ve had enough lore-debates with very knowledgeable folks to know that Codex Witch Hunters was a bit of a mongrel from a time when the GW design studio were all obsessed with the Inquisition and wanted to jam them in wherever they could.  So that’s cool.  I’m fine with all the Ordos being paired with the Grey Knights, and I look forward to a book dedicated solely to the Sisters and their wacky religious mates like Confessors, Penitent Engines, and Redemptionists.

What I am not fine with is being unable to field a proper Inquisition force without bloody Grey Knights!  I’ve never been interested in them.  Well, I bought a squad of Grey Knight Terminators once because the models were so damn pretty but that’s it.  My hands-down favourite 40k army in terms of flavour is an Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor and cronies leading inducted Imperial Guard.  It seems that I now have until the release of the next Sisters of Battle codex to legally do this, insofar as it’s possible anyway what with the weird mix between the old Witch Hunters book and the 5th edition Guard book.  As far as I can see, once the Sisters of Battle book comes out and Codex Witch Hunters is officially outdated, the only way I’ll be able to play my preferred army is in Apocalypse, or by house-ruling.  Both options are hardly ideal.

I love the way GW has designed the Inquisitors in Codex Grey Knights.  They and their warbands are much cooler than the clunky, arcane versions in the old Inquisition books.  But why can’t I ally?  Why can’t I induct?  Why aren’t there any Storm Troopers or even Guardsmen?  Why do I have to use a counts-as Coteaz (a Malleus Inquisitor) in order to field an army without any Grey Knights?  It just seems counter-intuitive and restrictive.  Inquisition units are some of the most customizable in 40k, a modeller’s dream.  If I was a more cynical guy I’d think that GW simply wanted to force all those self-reliant, creative Inquisition fans to buy some Grey Knight models.

Surely not . . .


8 responses to “Witch Hunters: what does the future hold?

  • 2501

    While I have a sneaking suspicion that they won’t allow any more induction or allies, at least the current direction in codexes means the new WH one will be stronger than its predecessor.

    • James S

      Yes, the Sisters will be stronger. But the Ordo Hereticus won’t be in there at all any more I fear – they seem to have been absorbed by the Grey Knights book, Karamazov and all.

  • David Stillberg

    Word, brother. If I could do a “mixed” army, I’d do it tomorrow. I have hopes for at least Henchmen and Hereticus Inquisitors in the Sororitas book – and if there are none, I wouldn’t be opposed to mixing the codexes.

  • Capn Stoogey

    You need to be careful when in comes to mixing codexes or you’ll open up a big can of worms for the cheesemeisters.

    Imagine people taking Blood angels Assault marines as troops, backed up by Long fangs as heavies…

  • James S

    Right Capn, mixing codexes requires something else – a friend who isn’t power-hungry or rules-bound to play with. Luckily I have a couple of them, but many people don’t.

  • Capn Stoogey

    He he, speaking of which, episode 4 next weekend?

  • stephenlakowski

    It was interesting reading this, now that the Sister codex is actually out. I’m in a bit of the same boat as James, in that my favorite side of playing Inquisition forces was playing a core of just inquisition models without Grey Knights or Sisters, except instead of Guardsmen, I had a single vanilla Space Marine squad, with the rest of my troops being Stormtroopers.

    It’s unfortunate that the Inquisition models have been basically relegated to an auxiliary role, with the focus now being Battle Sisters and Grey Knights.

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