Inquisitorial Stormtroopers, We Hardly Knew 'Ye
This article is for the guy with 40+ metal Wulfen models.
We all tend to get pretty excited when a new release comes knockin'. New models, new rules and new background are a wargamer's nerdy delight. There's a feeling of history in the making - a new generation of whatever race is being updated. Standards are typically raised and we all settle in for a four-to-ten year ride as the new codex/army book works its magic on tabletops across the world.
But what about that guy in the corner? What's he so upset about? He's selling his army or switching game systems or throwing up his hands in disgust and leaving the hobby altogether. But didn't his army just get an update? Shouldn't he be leaping for joy?
Every new release has new players flocking to the hobby, attracted by ever more robust sculpts and streamlined rulesets. However there are those that get left behind after years of anticipation and brand loyalty. Some players are put off by a change in fluff. Others feel that their codex/army book is now far too mainstream and shirk away from the thought of playing against the same army over and over again.
Still others are repulsed by the new rules and this is the saddest case of all. If you enter the hobby based on an attraction to a certain unit, it's playstyle, it's fluff or both and that unit is erased from the face of the hobby this likely leaves you feeling betrayed and not a little pissed off. "How could Games Workshop do this? What were they thinking?"
There's been plenty of examples over the past few years. Mild instances might include items like Carnifexes or Leman Russ Vanquishers - models that are still playable, even in competitive environments, but are a shadow of their former selves. No one likes it when the unit they spent years building a strategy around, converting painting and collecting suddenly becomes an exotic paperweight. Still the rest of the army is updated and many other models that might have accompanied these "nerfed" units are still very usable and may even be better than they used to be.
More extreme cases are of course where units are erased completely from the game. All 'Chapter Approved' entries fall into this category as do many units whose models now only "count as" something in the newest iteration of their army's rulebooks. Some older examples of the latter are Tyranid war veterans and 13th Penal Legion. Both of these cases are tragic due to the vast potential these units held to become characterful entries in their respective codices. All of those beautifully converted models reduced to playing the role of the "rank-and-file" entries. Boring and sinfully wasteful.
The most recent and perhaps the most perplexing of these cases is of course the removal of Inquisitorial Storm Troopers from the game. Do not pass go, do not collect $200 just get the hell out of the game. This is distressing on a number of levels. Firstly because it is worrying to see a core part of an army erased without even a reference. Inqusitorial Stormtroopers are not once referenced in the entire document which is meant to update a book that could field nothing but Inquisitorial Stormtroopers.
Secondly it is equally distressing that GW would imply the use of the Warrior Acolyte entry to replace Stormtroopers but did not spend more than three or four minutes contemplating, designing or testing this unfortunate entry. Thus they wash their hands of the issue for the next few years until it becomes profitable to produce plastic Stormtroopers. Ironically the implication that IST's are now to be used as Warriors comes in the showcase section wherein an "Imperial Guard Stormtrooper" model (which is of course the same model the studio used to represent IST's in the previous edition), one of the few models in the industry that actually has grenades visibly sculpted on to it is offered as a representation of a unit that does not even have the option for grenades.
This gruesome level of carelessness will likely cost the company a great deal of profit as the opportunity to give Imperial Guard players a bandwagon to hop on is missed. Simultaneously all those that shunned the "Grey Knight" codex as a "fly-by-night" Space Marine update are not given the chance to take their Inquisitorial force in a different direction.
Luckily Rules Manufactorum agents need not fall prey to this poor re-conception of non-MEQ Inquisitorial forces. Rather this seems an excellent opportunity to take matters into our own hands and see just what we can do to redesign IST's and all those neglected units that accompany them in dusty display cases worldwide.