Review: Codex Daemonhunters download pdf

30 June 2010 | 5th Edition

Daemonhunters Codex cover

Well the intention was well meant at the time — but obviously with the new GK Codex in instore preview prior to release on 2 April 2011 then this article is here for archive purposes only. So read on if you like, or skip as you please.

Important note:

GW have added as statement to their website today 30 June 2010 regarding the (Daemonhunters and Witch Hunters) Codex pdfs. As this statement has appeared after this review was published, changes might need to be made to my original article so I will revist it soon if required. In the meantime, here is the message on their site:

We recently made the Witch Hunters and Daemonhunters codexes available to download as PDFs. Since then, we've received a spate of emails asking questions about the difference between the PDFs and the original, printed copies. Rather than reply to you all individually, I thought I'd try to answer your questions here. Firstly, the rules for allied Space Marines and Inducted Imperial Guard were originally written to reference books that have since gone out of print, so we streamlined the rules required to allow players to collect an army of Daemonhunters or Witch Hunters. The Daemonhunters army list uses the Standard Force Organisation chart, which you'll find on page 87 of the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook. The other point that seems to be causing the most confusion is whether or not the PDF versions supersede the printed versions. They don't: you should feel free to continue to use whatever resources you have available to play your games with; the PDF does not overrule or invalidate the printed Codex book. Yes, this may mean that you and your opponent are using what are essentially different army lists for the same army but not every Inquisition force will comprise of the same elements (highly specialised and secretive forces that they are). And if you'd rather use the same one as your opponent, why not simply decide which version you collectively want to use and share the rules between one another? As for tournaments and gaming events, it's entirely up to the organisers to decide which version to use; it is after all their event.

GW have recently made both the Daemonhunters and Witch Hunters Codexes available to download for free from their site (although you must sign in or register if not already registered). As I have a vested interest in the Daemonhunters with my allied Grey Knights, here is a brief overview of what has been produced.

I'll say from the outset that this isn't the greatest bit of work GW has put out. More on that later

1. Why a pdf version anyway?

There have been rumours of a joint Inquisition Codex being written by GW although any official announcement has yet to be made. One can only assume that theyve taken the decision not to reprint either the Daemonhunters or Witch Hunters Codexes with the possibility of a new one looming. Thats what Id like to think anyway. So we must assume that this version is a stop-gap?

I for one certainly hope so.

Lets have a quick look through what we have. First it consists of only 25 pages. All the interesting hobby bits (painting / modelling etc) has gone to leave a very pared down slimline version. Much of the fluff has gone, including the great story of Inquisitor Consadine, the details of what the Grey Knights are and how they are organised, and the section on Inquisitors, all of which set out the Daemonhunters' stall. And with the loss of the fluff, many illustrations have gone too.

2. Rules and wargear and weapons changes

Grey Knight special rules

Most DH rules or wargear items haven't changed. Aegis, Shrouding, Rites of Exorcism and Daemonic Infestation items listed on page 8 of the original Codex remain intact in this one.

But there is a change to True Grit section with some rewording. It basically allows Grey Knights to count their storm bolters as a second pistol to gain an extra attack in close combat if they are already armed with another pistol or close combat weapon. They get no charge bonus but this hasn't changed from current.


No items of wargear have been changed either in cost or function that I can see. This in my view is not a good result as for instance the Teleport homer still references a template for use in teleporting that is actually no longer used in 5th Edition. And the issue of DH Force weapons' 'killing outright' equalling instant death (or not) hasn't been touched here either.

A bit of effort and careful editing here would have been welcome and easy to accomplish pulling into line niggly issues and incompatibility problems with 5th Edition.

Psychic Powers

All these remain unchanged as per the book Codex.

Allies and Inducted units

Both rules gone!

This is the biggest change to the paper Codex. Yes unbelievably its no longer possible to field an Inquisitor Lord, Inquisitor, Assassin or Grey Knights within any other army apart from a Deamonhunters one. What were Games Workshop thinking of? There is no established fluff anywhere that I know of that imposes a similar such ban — indeed traditionally most Inquisitors do operate with non-Daemonhunter armies. There is no discernable fluff nor gaming reason that I can see for this rules omission so a real puzzler.

As someone who regularly used Grey Knight Terminators with my Deathwing this is an absolute disaster!! I shall greatly miss the cc capability of my GKGM, not to mention his useful psychic powers and Ld10 psychic hood.

Feel too for Grey Knight gamers who now cant use the useful inducted Guard units options within their armies: no more Sentinals or Rough Riders, infantry platoons, Armoured Fist squadrons or Russ tanks. No inducted Space Marine units either (although this was rare). The day of competitive DH armies is now gone and I doubt that it will be many years before we see them at tournaments in this guise.

Is a Daemon a Daemon?

Yes! Gone in this pdf version is the list of what units constituted a Daemon for the purposes of most DH rules (found on page 20 of the book Codex). Making it far easier to define a them by their unit names. It would seem that by stripping out that page altoghether GW have, probably inadvertantly, actually helped. Interestingly Daemonic Infestation is still restricted to certain unit types, most of which no longer exist. Another item that could have been fixed this time around.

Assault cannons et al

The DH are still crippled with their own version of this weapon, as well as still having a unique storm shield. Specifc weapons have not changed from the book Codex. I can see no reason why they couldnt have been referenced to the Codex: Space Marines. One must conclude that the fact they dont was a purposeful act and not an omission on the writers part, but one just cant tell. Why change (or omit) some rules and not take the time to fix others?

3. Which Codex to use?

Just use the old one cant we? Well no as the usual pattern of updating means that the newer version of any rule set must be used in preference to the set it replaces. This gives the theoretical problem of the current Daemonhunter FAQ not working with this pdf version as it refers to the older Codex. Hmmm… Maybe theyll be an updated DH FAQ to suit… Id think not knowing GW.

In fairness to GW they have said that this pdf Codex is there for those who can't get access to the proper book version and isn't there to replace or override the book version. But I'm afraid that doesn't wash. I mean if you were new to the game and just had the pdf version then how would you know what was missing from the book version?

GW, you need to make this pdf ruleset:

  • exactly as it was in book form,
  • or, update it thoroughly with due care to what you are doing and state that it overrides the book version.

But what you don't do is tinker with half-heartedly.

4. Conclusion

Lazy, slapdash and poorly thought through. Stripping out great chunks to make it more downloadable (if indeed that was the reason) is not the way to create a good working coherent ruleset that presents an army in an interesting manner. Furthermore there is little here that alleviates any of the rules compatibility issues between the DH and current 5th edition gaming environment.

The fact that the Allies and Inducted units rules have gone cuts down the fun and competitiveness of DH armies in my view, leading to less gamers picking them up in the first place, or like me dabbling with them, which is a great shame as the militant arms of the Inquisition should be a force to be reckoned with.

Note that oddly as I understand it some foreign language versions of the DH Codex still contain the Allies rule (or Inducted units rule?) however I haven't yet been able to verify this one way or the other.

One would have thought in these cash-strapped times GW would be falling over themselves to become more customer-friendly and not actively annoying their loyal and already long-suffering Daemonhunter customers. Being free is not and excuse, it should have been at least fit for purpose too.

We can really only live in hope that the rumoured joint Inquisitorial Codex will be so good and appear so soon that we will forgive them this one. Or, they fix this one.

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