Okay, so the title sounds negative than I intended.
A couple of you have been kind enough to enquire, so here are my first thoughts about the new Codex: IG and the future of Drax's forces.
1) Guard are weaker...and stronger as a result.
The thing that really hit me with the latest Space Marine codex was that the marines were way harder; more-or-less across the board. Man for man, Guardsmen are now weaker, and this is a Good Thing. Sure, they're cheaper and better equipped (auto-frag! half-price krak!), but they're far less likely to stick around once the bullets start flying than they were up to now with their almost ubiquitous Ld 9.
So I hate the fact that a lot of my guys are likely to have Ld 7 or 8 a lot of the time (yes, I know there are ways round it, but see below) but I absolutely love the fact that they're more likely to run away: they're more like how I want Guardsmen to play! A couple of months ago I had a heavy weapon squad sit through five rounds of being shot at by terminators and a dreadnought: taking cover saves, constantly re-rolling Ld9 and shrugging off the occasional wounds to loaders 'til they were down to only one man. Sure this is still possible, but - importantly - it's slightly less probable, and Guardsmen are cheaper as a result. Rightly so.
2) Officers are not bulletproof.
The mainstays of my last inf-only army were my officers. Now (though folks seem fairly impressed with the new 'orders' and I expect to be too) they can't share their Ld and their radios now have less range than Ursarkar Creed's body odour. This is a shame, but not insurmountable. I shall simply be forced to rely on them less. As with the reduced efficiency (and effective Ld...and survivability...) of my beloved heavy weapons teams, I shall simply have to embrace the fact that despite the loss, they are cheaper and therefore more plentiful and more expendable.
3) Avoiding the hard stuff.
Loads of stuff in the new codex is pretty damned hard. I'm not out to win, so I'll probably avoid that which doesn't really sit well with me. This includes muchos psykers, conscripts and penal troops. Some of the vehicles too (see below).
4) Structural re-organisation.
Over the last couple of years, I've build my forces up as separate forces: light infantry, armoured infantry and a tank company. The new codex really seems to reward a combined-arms approach (and rightly so), so although they're cheaper and not too much more flimsy than before, my light infantry (only) are likely to seem expensive and less effective by comparison to a mixed force.
If you're wondering, here's how I'm currently considering their re-organisation (for fluffiness: power-gaming and too many special characters can go hang, for now):
Two companies, each comprising:
1Pl with 3 inf sections (spec wpn); m/launcher sect; a/cannon sect; mortar sect and (probably) a special weapon (flamers) sect.
2Pl with 3 inf sections (spec wpn); l/cannon sect; h/bolter sect; mortar sect and (probably) a special weapon (flamers) sect.
With my current equipment (voxs for all who can; medics (NOW AT 30 POINTS!) and g/launchers in HQ sects) each platoon costs about 550pts...which seems a lot until you realise that it can hold its own pretty well against most foes (certainly if my old experiences with light infantry are anything to go by) - and is well equipped. Obviously, elements could be removed from platoons for different purposes.
My armoured infantry are likely to remain mostly unchanged - except that I may take Al'rahem, just because I like the compulsion of his 'flanking' special rule. I feel the urge for another griffon.
Max, over at 'Defending Humanity' has been waxing lyrical about the use of triple-melta vet squads in chimeras flying into the enemy's flanks, and this has caught my attention...especially if I get around to making my 'front-loader' chimera! We'll see.
5) The new vehicles are as pricey as they are sweet...but not all to my taste.
I am so hugely happy about chimeras being given a decent price I could weep, but I don't think the talented Mr. Cruddace really thought the vehicles through quite as well as he might have. Noted anomalies include:
++ That the melta-y hellhound (devil dog? - I don't have my codex in front of me) has a main weapon that's potentially less useful than the new hull-mounted multimelta option, which has the same range and no chance of scattering or hitting at a frustrating half strength;
++ The 20-shot 'punisher'. Really?
++ The massive one-shot missile of death that may or may not fire and will have an 8-12" diameter blast. Why on Earth would he include this in a normal Codex?
++ Or the manticore, for that reason? Why not simply keep them for apocalypse?
++ And the acid-firing hellhound contraption seems really really too powerful (it'll kill marines on a 2+).
However, the chimeras are smashing, as is the 'lumbering behemoth' rule (very clever) and so are the nice little rules for griffons (re-rolls are great, and I love that they can't fire direct now). The sentinels march on, and I like the improvements to the exterminator's autocannon (though they seemed a little unnecessary they're certainly welcome).
Due to current lack of funds, valkyries will not be appearing soon, sadly. I'm determined to paint up my old FW baneblade first!
6) And finally, characters.
The lack of tactical options available to Guard now does sadden me a little - I thought the 'doctrines' system was a great idea for Guard, albeit flawed; and it's a shame that one now has to take special characters for 50, 70 or 90 pts a pop just so that one unit can outflank. I love some of them, but they're just too specific: I don't want to be held down to heroes for tactical flexibility in a 1000pt game!
And I know I'm not alone.
So. Thoughts continue. It'll be an age beofre I get to try many of my ideas out, so all ripostes gratefully received.