The Dark Fortress

Poll: Unforgiven army builds in 5th Edition

5th Edition

After a quick poll that eventually hung around for some four months, I thought it about time that the results were posted for those with an interest.

A bit about the premise of this poll first. The poll was opened soon after the launch of the Codex Space Marines 5th Edition as I was interested to see how people currently played their Unforgiven armies, and what if any changes they would make in the future in the light of exposure to the Marines' book.

As you can see the samples were very small — not really enough to draw any solid conclusions from — but the results were interesting nonetheless and form a reasonable snapshot of the four months span from (roughly) the middle of November '08 to the end of March '09.

I have split the results to follow the two questions that were asked:

  • I am interested to find out what is currently the most popular Unforgiven army build. Can you respond to the poll below please.
  • Given the changes wrought by the new Codex Space Marines, are you contemplating changing the build of your Unforgiven army?

Current Unforgiven builds

First off, let's look at the most popular builds then being currently used:

Current army build results chart

The thing that struck me most was the poor take up of pure Greenwing armies at of 5.33%, a very poor showing indeed. I think this accurately reflects the fact that playing armies of this nature it is better to use the Codex Space Marines with its greater flexibility, better wargear and cheaper unit costs.

Other interesting figures are for pure Ravenwing at 3.55% which surprisingly has very little support. This despite the fact that if played correctly can be the most devastating Unforgiven build going. I can only think that the cost of the bike and Land Speeder models may put some people off.

Dominating army builds is Greenwing with Deathwing and/or Ravenwing support (40.24%). Possibly because it is seen as the 'fluffiest' combination to play, but also that used together can be a handful even in consideration of the poor Greenwing element.

Pure Deathwing does well at 14.2% and as such is the second highest build type after Greenwing with Deathwing and/or Ravenwing support. Overall there is a Deathwing presence in nearly 90% of all armies, a Ravenwing presence in around 72%.

Future Unforgiven army builds

Now we see how respondents saw their armies changing:

Future army build results chart

Many (32.69%) said they wouldn't change their future army builds, which cements the result of the first questions' results into place. However, by definition that meant that 67.31% would change — about two-thirds of respondents I think this is a fairly substantial block of player who can see that in order to remain viable in the era of the 5th Edition C:SM they need to change. In fact I take great heart from that, as it means that far from just chucking in the towel, gamers using the DA Codex are willing to search and experiment with different army builds.

Not so good however is the 12.5% who will no longer be using the DA Codex. This in itself wasn't a surprise as the question was there to be answered. In fact I'd assumed the figure might be higher at around 20-25%.

Of those who are or have changed, by far the biggest shifts 18.27% were towards the full Chapter loadout of Greenwing with Deathwing and/or Ravenwing support. Again a good reflection on how people see the two elite companies offering a unique flavour to their armies. And an equal block of 18.27% who will switch to a Deathwing/Ravenwing combination of some kind.

On Deathwing builds, I was glad to see how highly they figured in theses future build results too, with some kind of Deathwing presence in around 50% of all armies, while Ravenwing featured in around 38%. The 'Deathwing factor' is a really telling figure in both sets of results as many have said Codex Dark Angels is really no more than 'Codex Deathwing' being as a pure bike force can be built from the Codex Space Marines and the second-rate nature of Greenwing armies.


Such as can be drawn the following can be seen as a favourite for future development:

Deathwing armies

These continue to wow, and are seen as the differentiating factor between the DA Codex and the Codex Space Marines in terms of a unique build. Popular in both pure form (where they will form over 15% of all Unforgiven builds) and within other combination builds — they'll be a lot more of these guys around.

Ravenwing armies

Second to the Deathwing in popularity within Unforgiven armies, even if they aren't a strong choice to field in their pure form. They are seen as a good choice to be used within over a third of all Unforgiven armies.

Greenwing armies

Pure Greenwing shows poorly both as a current choice and has fallen in popularity for a future choice. To me that's no great surprise given the general superiority of Codex Space Marines as a vehicle for playing purely power-armoured marines.

However despite that, when combined with the Elite companies Greenwing is seen as a viable choice, even in future trends (for those who change) where they hold their own.

Walking away

Those who choose to no longer use the DA Codex some might of course come back at some point. Nevertheless shedding around an eighth of gamers is no joke. Something that needs to be rectified with a great degree of urgency when the next DA Codex is written.

Maybe we need a 'real' one, rather than an 'experimental' one next time round.


Many thanks to all those who took the time to vote in the polls. Your input was of course invaluable. I hope the wait for these conclusions was worth it and maybe serve to set you on a different gaming path, if you aren't already on it.


Wayland Games
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