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|This article or section involves Matt Ward, your Spiritual Liege, who is universally-reviled on /tg/. Because this article or section covers Ward's copious amounts of derp and rage, fans of the 40K series are advised that if you proceed onward, you will see fluff and crunch violation of a level rarely seen.|
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Matthew Ward (usually shortened to Ultramarine Fanboy #1) was one of the Games Designers at Games Workshop and the Fifth God of Chaos, The Lord of Changing Fluff, 420 Noscoper and The Bringer of Mary Sues. He is the definition of Skub.
He was widely hated on /tg/ for a wide variety of reasons, enumerated ad nauseam below. Since then we've had two new editions and a bunch of new Codexes. He hasn't fucked up recently, but fa/tg/uys being fa/tg/uys there's still plenty of bile spewed about him. Most of us have moved on.
It's probably telling that this page was one of 1d4chan's most controversial and fought-over; not because people are arguing over whether he's good or bad, but because they're arguing over how bad and whether he's redeeming himself with his (slightly) better work as of late.
It is also telling that for a period of time, his name was a banned word on 4chan due to the bitchfights surpassing even Edition Wars seen in the heyday and that 1d4chan appears on a google search of his name before Wikipedia.
I'm a new player; Who is That Guy?
Matt Ward was a Games Designer for Games Workshop. That means he wrote Codices and Army Books. He was responsible for both the rules themselves (the crunch) and the background behind the army (the fluff).
In real life he's a fairly soft-spoken and shy man, and generally nicer than you might suspect. If for some reason you want to know more about him (especially considering the paragraphs below) he does have a blog linked at the bottom.
Basically, he was if That Guy could DEVOUR THE RULES
That Doesn't Sound So Bad; Why Does /tg/ Hate This Guy So Much?
Because he messed up. A lot.
It's widely believed that he made some of the most broken books ever published by Games Workshop (which is really saying something), that he systematically destroyed the fluff to fit his own bloody vision of the 40k and Fantasy universes (while ignoring all of the fluff that existed beforehand) and, perhaps most egregiously, made the game boring with his copy/paste style of writing.
That being said, nowadays, a segment of /tg/ has turned against this viewpoint, noting that the other authors (in particular Robin Cruddace, who is hated almost as much as Ward himself, and Gavin Thorpe who's known for the forceful insertion of Chaos into every faction in Fantasy) are frequently just as bad as Ward himself. They also note that although Ward's books were very powerful they were relatively well-balanced against each other, had a variety of good choices in army composition, and were actually fairly interesting (although as always these things are matters of opinion).
Whether or not these claims are true is a matter of debate, but we present the evidence below in equal measure with viewpoints as briefly but accurately represented as possible so you can make up your own mind.
Why the Hate?
The problem with Matt Ward is a touch complicated, but the biggest issue is the way he writes the fluff. For many, as can be seen by the plethora of /tg/ made chapters here on 1d4chan, the true appeal of 40k is designing a unique, colorful army with a rich history and engaging heroes. A good player of 40k likes to put a certain amount of himself in his lovingly assembled and painted armies, and he likes his army to reflect his own sensibilities and his own ideals. That's what makes an army truly belong to a player – that's what makes them special.
Matt Ward takes those elements and changes them to suit his tastes. Those heroes you may have liked before now seem like entirely new people, and the armies you liked before now seem to be an entirely different force you never wanted to play as and while this kind of change isn't anything new to 40K, the reason people single Ward out more for it is because the other authors (most notably Phil Kelly) at least try to keep some of the themes in the new books so that they feel like the old army with a new shade of paint, rather than some alien force wearing the skin of the one you used to like.
The biggest rage-inducing codex he has made thus far is the Ultramarines codex, which explicitly stated that all chapters, excluding a few "aberrants", behave and think in exactly the same manner as his army – Ultramarines. He spelled out the organization patterns, the ideologies, who they revere and why (this is also where he made his infamous "Spiritual Liege" comment).
Players can still make their own factions, but with Ward's fluff, they'll never measure up to Ward's army. This could be easily written off as the bitter anger of the old veterans, and on some level, it is - but when analyzing Ward's works, and his reactions to works by other Codex/fluff writers, patterns quickly emerge, and one cannot ignore this. The flaw is inescapable, and Ward enforces it in all his writing with sincerity and vigor.
Even this would not be so much of a problem if it weren't for the fact that Ward just isn't a tactician, only rarely does he try to write factions using any kind of thought to dictate their battle (and most of that is in the Necron book for some reason) or just telling the player that somebody is a tactical genius without anything to show for it. The majority of Ward's heroes lead head first, sacrificing all in frontal assaults that could be circumvented with more ingenuity. Though this isn't entirely Ward's fault as it should be noted that most of the characters he wrote were front-line generals before he touched them and this is a very common theme for nearly every army in the setting with a few exceptions.
As for this "tell, don't show" policy, he tells us that Marneus Calgar is a patient tactical genius who considers the danger of an incoming projectile before taking cover. The image painted in the average person's mind in that case is one of Calgar analyzing a falling bomb until it strikes him in the head and explodes, at which point he decides, “Yes, that one was dangerous, I probably should have taken cover from that one". A more reasonable explanation, however, would be something along the lines of Calgar taking note of the paths of incoming bullets, and only bothering to take cover or otherwise avoid them if they are actually going to hit him, and even then, only if they would actually pose a threat. This would paint the surprisingly badass (for Ward, at least) image of a man standing out in the open as gunfire whizzes by, occasional cocking his head to the side or taking the odd sidestep to avoid any rounds that might actually be a danger to him, but since there are two viewpoints on it in the first place it makes it clear something went wrong.
The biggest offender of Matt's “tell not show” policy is Kaldor Draigo, the Grey Knights' supreme grand master, whose main personality trait is “badass”. Without rhyme, reason, or feasible explanation, Draigo simply exists as this whirlwind of enemy-destroying fiction in his codex. He pops in and out of the Warp, wrecking everything, everywhere, without so much a minute of exposition or explanation. Draigo is a concept – a meaningless one without any emotional impact. He's not a person or anything to which the average man can relate. Ward has simply declared him the best ever, and he has done so in canon, so it is so. This isn't helped much by the fact that Grey Knights are a very "Tell not Show" Chapter, ever since they were made every amazing feat they do there are a dozen more fom some guy no one has ever hear of doing something no one else remembers.
To be fair, Matt can write reasonably decent fluff, like The World Engine (which this former necron player admits is awesome despite ripping off Star Wars in several ways; the World Engine is just a renamed Death Star, and the Rebel Fle- ahem SPACE MARINES have to destroy it) , Castellan Crowe (who even this severely butthurt daemonhunters-now-GK-player has to admit IS pretty fucking cool) or Trazyn the Infinite. He's also able to create a perfectly balanced crunch like the Space Marine codex, or Necrons before 6th edition edition buffed them to the stratosphere. It should be noted though that these are all new additions from Ward, and if the stuff he adds to an existing faction is good, then why change what's already there to match your way of thinking when you could just add something? Whether it's Trazyn or Draigo, adding something is still better than altering an entire chapter. There is no denying that Ward is better than several alternatives (and vice versa, though this depends on the army in question) and (in a typical book) for every good piece of fluff he's done, there's a bunch of Kaldor Draigos and Khornate Knights to sift through - and in the eyes of a staggering plurality on /tg/, that's a big part of why he's disliked.
Another problem with the simple "Ignore the Ward's Fluff" idea is that players play fluffy armies, the canon lore does matter to them, and though try as they might to ignore the glaring fact the canon fluff is forever altered by creating little pockets of what they believe 'should be' the fluff, it all feels exactly as it sounds; a personal delusion that ignores the facts: One day, it was found out that your family doesn't exist, and while you can still maintain the belief that they do, it will never be true; that's how it feels. And it is painful to play as these armies and see their fluff changed so much, or to be reminded when you play against them. Ward's codex's have been very successful, look at the number of people playing Grey Knights, Blood Angels, Necrons these days, ruthlessly exploiting every bit of cheese they can find and purchasing up all the new shiny overpriced models for them.
Whether you decide Ward deserves the rage and hate he gets, write it off as a sad consequence of his earlier work, pity him for working for GW, or simply don't give a shit is entirely your call. As ever, on /tg/, we urge you to make your own decisions. Either way, he's not the best writer they have, not the worst, and his reputation will follow him in every endeavor he goes from now till time immemorial, for good or for ill.
That said, hatred for him is dying down these days as the quality of his work has vastly improved, most of his horrible books were re-written (sometimes by him) to be much better or balanced out through another edition, and even some of the neckbeards who despised him at first are willing to forgive him now, especially in light of the clusterfuck that was the 6th edition Tyranids codex.
Then the Cries of Misogyny...
Many of Ward's detractors like to paint him as a Misogynist to make him seem worse, this started with an event called "The Bloodtide" see Khornate Knights, but let's break it down: misogyny is defined as an irrational or pathological dislike of women, there is in that definition alone four points for us to try to puzzle this one out:
- For the fa/tg/uys to whom Bloodtide is misogyny it is fairly obvious, that their deaths were the direct result of an irrational act of contempt for women or misogyny by Matt "bane of /tg/'s existence" Ward. It could have been any Imperial force, but he deliberately chose it to be the women who were just a footnote in the story other than being casualties. To them it's also possible that's not a contempt of women but a contempt for the Sister of Battle faction, as there are all-female and mixed gender Imperial Guard regiments. Though this argument fell flat a while ago when Matt Ward wrote an article on his blog talking about female characters in media.
- To the second group of fa/tg/uys, 40K is a violent setting in which people get killed horribly all the time, and the Sisters of Battle are no exception to this (see for example the Second Battle of Sanctuary 101 in the novel Hammer and Anvil); to this group the Sister's deaths are a result of the general misanthropy and overall grimdarkness of the setting, which delights in the brutal slaughter of humans (and xenos) regardless of gender. Sisters were just a randomly chosen group, and it might as well have been Imperial Guard, Inquisitors, or
Ultramarineswell, maybe that last one's out of the question for Ward regardless, but the important thing is that they were just casualties, and Ward was blissfully ignorant of the unfortunate implications of an all-women fighting force being slain by an all-male army that was supposed to be on their side.
- There is, however, a third interpretation of the events of Bloodtide, but it is of some sophistication, ergo not a product of Matt "Ima troll u" Ward. Were he so capable he could have used the Bloodtide to demonstrate that the Imperium in-universe is sexist, the Grey Knights as flawed beings, and that the needless deaths therein would have been seen as unimportant to anyone anywhere because the victims were women. In short using sexism irrrrrrrronically. That said, there's no reason to believe that 38,000 years of human history has led to any sort of decline in sexism (indeed, we can see that kind of behavior in Imperial Guard in novels).
- A newer one is that, based on past fluff, Grey Knights often use the blood of priests due to the fact the Imperial Cult is a martyrdom religion combined with martyrdom being a major theme of the Sisters of Battle. It wouldn't be remotely out of place if the Sisters had agreed to being paint knowing that it would indeed make the Grey Knights stronger in the face of Chaos. Factor in that Matt Ward is capable of writing Sisters well (as shown in their codex), and the cries of misogyny seem like just the fact that the story left out a lot of important details due to just being a stub, and oversensitivity that was gotten away with due to Ward being popular to hate on. The Grey Knights are humans. Stalwart protectors of mankind. Holy Warriors of the Emperor blah blah blah. Killing humans of any sort - most especially the holy Daughters of the Emperor - is heresy when done for absolutely no reason (even if the reason is shaky). Also, note the utter lack of "and the Grey Knights killed all the Imperial Guardsmen for lulz" in the codex, or in any of Matt Ward's writings. This lends credence to the interpretation that the Sisters allowed themselves to be killed to ensure victory, but the way it was written makes it seem that they were murdered instead of acting as willing sacrifices, further adding to the debate there is Ben Counter's short story "Sacrifice" (from Victories of the Space Marines compilation), it reveals that in fact Grey Knight bolter ammunition can actually slay daemons so well because each one of the bolts is infused with the lifestream of a righteous man, read, a good man's life for a bolt, similarly the Aegis armour is actually infused with tens of psykers' essence, in other words, the Grey Knights's power against Chaos doesn't come just from their inherent psyker talents and faith but from the overall (often forced) sacrifice of the Imperium's population.
Which of these you believe is most plausible probably depends on how deep seated your hatred of Ward is, whether you are the type of person to give others the benefit of the doubt or to immediately assume the worst, and how you feel about violence towards women.
Factions of Ward
The various viewpoints on Ward can be broken up into six factions. Like most of /tg/'s inter-departmental-bickering, this is by no means a comprehensive list and the various factions can come in various flavors of This Guy and That Guy. Some would argue more of the latter, and others more of the former.
The Old Guard - Maintain that Ward is the anti-Christ. Loudly complain when he's writing a new codex and vehemently hates his fluff. Will fight to the bitter end decrying that Ward's rules are overpowered, but is notable mostly for his utter hatred of Ward's fluff and complete disregard of previously-established canon. The most devout of them focus their hatred on the Necron codex. More than simple alterations isolated to the Necron fluff and the 6th ed codex. They vehemently remind people that in messing with the past, Ward had completely changed Warhammer 40k history, affecting such things as the origins of Nulls, Necron motivation, their battles with the Eldar, and due to the notorious Allies chart, changing the very manner in which every race interacts.
The Vet Gamer - Differs from the Old Guard in that whilst the Old Guard hates for primarily the Fluff, the Vet Gamers hate him for the Crunch. They see ward's nonsense as indicative of the power creep that the game's suffered for quite some time, often citing Warhammer 40K's flagrantly game-breaking Blood Angels codex at launch, or Warhammer Fantasy's Daemons codex as a sign of where everything went wrong.
The Indifferent - These are people who have no opinion as to whether Ward is good or bad, they are neutral on his subject, they just want people to shut the fuck up.
The Crunch Defenders - Hold that while Matt Ward does write atrocious fluff, his crunch is fair and balanced. They also defend the viewpoint that ultimately, crunch is more important than fluff because you can ignore bad fluff. Also known as WAAC players.
The Counter-Culture - Love Ward on the grounds that the Old Guard hate him too much. /tg/'s version of hipsters.
The Converted These are people who agree Ward's older books suck but believe he's getting better (and/or the suck of the older books were over exaggerated), or even a good writer now.
The Wardinites - The direct opposite of the Old Guard, the Wardinites worship Ward as a God, following the revered Book of Ward. They are identified by defending Ward, but whereas Crunch Defenders only defend Crunch, Wardinites defend both. Whereas the Counter-Culture like him because it makes them look "edgy", the Wardinites hold that he is legitimately good. Often quotes from the Book of Ward, usually: "From the Cruddex, and the monobuild, Matthew Ward deliver us". They hold Robin Cruddace as the Great Satan. It is suspected that the Wardinites have a strong powerbase in the Necrons and Tyranid communities.
It should be noted, like most religions, there are different sects within the Cult of Ward, the theological divides between them mostly concerning Codex: Grey Knights. The sects supporting Grey Knights are also divided amongst pro- and anti-draigo sects. And now recently these sects have become even more diverse thanks to a certain passage in the new Daemons codex...
It should be noted that if a member of the Old Guard and a member of the Cult of Ward meet, there WILL be blood spilled. Such is also true of a Vet Gamer and Crunch Defender meeting.
- Because GeeDubs decided upon themselves to credit the "Games Workshop design team" rather than individual authors as of late (gee, I wonder why?), it is best to assume that Mr Ward is now working on every Codex. And nobody will ever know which ones he did and didn't work on.
- However Phil Kelly has admitted the codex writers have been working with each other for a while now, even that some of the Eldar's new rules was in fact Ward's idea.
- Despite taking authors names out of the books to try and fool us, the staff at White Dwarf have obviously not been informed of the new requirement for secrecy, so every time a new Codex comes out, they end up doing interviews with the author anyway to ask them what amount of thought (or lack there-of) went into it's production.
- Though there may be a way to survive the new "Games Workshop design team" route. Each author has their trademarks. While particular traits aren't always exclusive to one author, patterns can be discerned that can help people navigate this hidden minefield. To summarize this guideline can be used;
- Matt Ward trademarks: Changing previous fluff to something new, creating new fluff that ranges from great to Heresy, recruiting new special characters, overall best internal balance for armies except for a high chance of game breaking spammer lists when the new big rulebook hits, Space Marine and Necron fanboyism, spamming the world 'alas' (though not quite to the levels of Jes Bickham), anything relating to elves in WFB (although this is more of a GW sin than "Ward Save" alone going by the Black Library books involving the keebs).
- Jeremy Vetock: Average and/or hilariously epic fluff, balanced armies, occasional bouts of hilariously awesome crunch, although a few REALLY bad units.
- Phil Kelly: Amazing fluff, average to monobuild crunch, random tables, anything relating to Space Elves in 40K.
- Robin Cruddace: Average to stupid fluff, rewriting existing stories to suit his tastes, using special characters in his stories, mediocre crunch unless it has tanks (being a huge treadhead), hating Tyranids.
Matt Ward's Writing "Highlights"
For awhile Matt Ward worked for Games Workshop and, initially, his works were not too bad. Over time the problems arose, yet Games Workshop kept trusting him with more important projects. They seemed to be under the misconception that Matt Ward was their best writer when his popularity (that many people kept using his armies) was more likely due to three things; they got him to write for their most popular armies with the players choosing to put up with Ward's flawed writing rather than give up their army and throw away the money/time they invested, the power-gamers loved his armies as they were overpowered at first and the newcomers to the hobby were ignorant of the previous state of the game, so they could have been unaware of how unbalanced it had become and how often Ward ruined the continuity of the game and retconned so much previously established lore.
2002 - 2007
- Ward authors a bunch of Lord of the Rings books. Revisionist neckbeards now like to point to them as damning proof of Ward's madness in its infancy, but mostly they're just forgettable. During this time, he also worked for White Dwarf, his only real defining feature being his fondness for playing the evil armies in battle reports. In hindsight, this was probably a sign of things to come. He also creates the rules for the Mumak, the most fucking ridiculous unit ever, which can destroy entire armies in it's movement. The Mumak is eventually revealed to be so broken (and included in an army that already had it's share of cheese) that it signals the beginning of the end for the Lord of the Rings system.
- On a Warhammer Fantasy note, 7th edition Orcs and Goblin book(with really stupid fluff mistakes and the appearence of a wizard from magic colleges in Gorbad's siege, thousands of years before their foundation. He also teamed up with the long-lost Anthony Reynolds to write the 6th Edition Wood Elves army book. The fluff was passable and the crunch had a few gems.
- Ward's descent into skub and infamy begins with Army Book: Daemons of Chaos, a work of such apocalyptic cheese mongering it is widely credited for single-handedly breaking WHFB. No army could come close to beating it (Dark Elves and Vampire Counts, accepted as 2nd and 3rd powerful in the rankings, generally had to struggle to grab DRAWS!) and the failing attempts at Power Creep to match eventually broke the entire system so hard that Fantasy required a hard reset in the form of the massive shakeup that was 8th edition. Most people write it off as an overeager premier, and whether this was Ward's own work or management fiat remains a point of conjecture.
- Ward is instrumental in the creation of the Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook, 5th Edition rulebook. While the crunch is more or less accepted, much of the fluff openly contradicts previous works (sisters being all but retconned out of the universe for example), and there's considerable attempts to promote certain armies over the others.
- Ward writes Codex: Space Marines for 5th edition. Thousands of neckbeards cry out in terror, and are silenced. While he manages to make this work mechanically stable, it comes at a terrible cost: Ward unilaterally decides to retcon massive amounts of Space Marine fluff and enshrine the Ultramarines as the gold standard for a "proper" space marine. The new fluff reads like Ultramarines fanfic, portraying the smurfs as second to the Emprah in damned-near all regards, and that all Space Marines view Rowboat Girlyman as their spiritual liege. It is about this time that Ward's prejudices against certain chapters start to emerge for the first time.
- Ward writes "War of the Ring", basically Apocalypse for Lord of the Rings and the basis for some of the new rules in the 8th edition of Fantasy, which will help clean up after the mistakes of Daemons of Chaos. The book isn't bad, but the fact the Lord of the Ring's hasn't been popular since 2001-2003, cheesy heroes and units on certain sides (Elves for example) and the fact the book is full of mistakes makes the game easily one sided and boring. Ward is sent back to writing 40k and Fantasy.
- Ward doubles down on his Heresy with Codex: Blood Angels. Any and all pretense of restraint is dropped and the codex is loaded with deep striking Land Raiders, flying librarian dreadnoughts, and ICs that can rip Abaddon's head off and shit down his neck. Ward devises new weapons and abilities for the blood angels, giving them evocative names like blood fists, blood talons, blood reavers, blood croziuses, blood lances, blood boil, and bloodstrike missiles. That's right. "Bloodstrike" (See Codex: Wolf Wolves). The fluff, while not the hate crime against neckbeards his previous work was, still manages to inspire rage by having the Necrons and Blood Angels become Super Secret Pony Princess Unicorn Best Friends Forever (if only temporarily). As fate would have it, this work will not survive the next edition too well and the Necrons team-up does make sense, though it heralds terrible precedents for things to come...
- Ward gives birth to Codex: Grey Knights, fusing the awful fluff and limitless cheese of his two previous works into a single abomination. While Psyflemen sweep tournament after tournament, writefags rage impotently about Kaldor Draigo, Khornate Knights, and the unapologetic rape of over ten years of canon.
- Ward co-authors the new White Dwarf release of Codex: Sisters of Battle. He shows incredible restraint by giving the sisters some respectable fluff, but compensates by basically reverting the Witch Hunters to 2E. The force org chart is gutted out, allies are removed, and the best strategies are promptly eliminated (with a bit of help from the nerfer in chief Robin Cruddance).
- Ward next turns his fell hand to the Necron. He ups the ante again by completely rewriting their backstory, presumably while humming to himself with a shit eating grin plastered to his face. The crons are now insane Tomb Kings, IN SPAAAACE, who want your body. Oh and they turned the C'tan into pokemon. Yea. Mechanics-wise the release fares surprisingly well, trading away some of the more egregious cheese of 3E (Monolith Death March) in order to eliminate its shittiest design flaws (Phase Out), some argue that it changes Necrons to the point that it would've been easier to change their name altogether and you know... some people could've taken up Necrons because they liked them as they were. Anyway, in its few improvements, the fluff manages to dodge Matt Ward's greatest flaw.
- Matt Ward teams up with Adam Troke and Jeremy Vetock to create Wardhammer 40,000 6th Edition. The whole rulebook promptly turns Codexes: Necrons and Grey Knights into rape trains with no brakes (though they are later surpassed by Tau and Eldar). Every single fa/tg/uy instantly regrets ever thinking the Space Tomb Kings were balanced in the first place. We're talking cheese like 9 fliers in a 1500pt list with flying dedicated transports that don't kill passengers when they crash!! What the fuck. Among other rage-worthy things of note include massive Buffs to already broken beyond reason armies, highly abusable mechanics resulting in severely limited builds for HQ choices (tool for challenges or suffer!) and the Space Marine segments of the fluff being full of yet more Matt Ward Porno.
- Matt Ward rewrites Army Book: Daemons of Chaos. Many neckbeards commit suicide before the official product announcement is out, to save themselves from the predicted cheese. Many Fantasy
Daemon players (They exist?)power gamers also ritually sacrifice themselves, in anticipation of a gargantuan nerfing. In the book, Matt Ward nerfs all the overpowered units of the previous army book, puts a lot of random effects, random magic items, and does things such as taking one of the worst units of the previous book (beast of burgle), improve it and reduce its cost by 40 points/each, or giving daemons one of the best cannons in the game. Overall they ended up as one of the better armies, but nowhere near the overpowered rape train they were last edition.
- Matt Ward heads the team that makes the 8th edition Warhammer Fantasy update for the High Elves. It's... really, really good. No, really! The Everqueen (and her units) were added back in and come off as pretty awesome. The book also fixes a lot of the cheese that the High Elves got away with in the older book, like "every time we cast spells it's Irresistible Force" and the "we ALWAYS Strike First with fricking Great Weapons." The fluff is good (although it's arguable how much Ward is responsible for the fluff, since it's mostly copy-pasted from earlier editions), and the army is pretty well-balanced, both internally and externally... except for one thing.
- Banner of the Motherfucking World Dragon. 2+ Ward Save against anything magical. And you know what army has only magical attacks? That's right, Daemons of Chaos. Most people feel this is blatantly unfair (hell, most reviews went out of their way to point it out, because it's just that egregious), but a small number chuckle lightly every time it comes up, because they remember the days when Daemons always won. Yet in the previous versions it gave COMPLETE immunity to spells, it was cheaper and there are currently a few spells and rules that ignore ward saves in 8th edition. Furthermore, only one unit in the army benefits from it if the character carrying the banner joins them, thus rendering those complaints somewhat invalid.
- Writing the Codex: Eldar Supplement about Craftworld Iyanden. It's two pages of crunch with the rest being fluff for $40. Said fluff consists of turning Iyanden into a clone of Biel-Tan, forgetting how the Infinity Circuit works, retconning more or less everything involving Ynnead; and turning Iyanden's leadership into incompetents who didn't think the Tyranids were a serious threat. That said, a number of Eldar players loved it because it's one of the few fluff bits that doesn't treat the Eldar as the universe's punching bag (which is far more than what can be said about most of their fluff), and gave them a little street cred.
- Writing the "Dark Elves" 8th edition update (and according to White Dwarf is now GW's go-to-guy for all things elven in WFB). Good news, the crunch is passable; Dark Elves have army wide Always Strike First like High Elves do while retaining High Elf Hatred. Also Murderous Prowess with some units getting buffed significantly with slight nerfs to balance them (Witch Elves). They also gain a glass cannon sea monster, that doesn't have any rules to let it move through water; justified in fluff so it can't escape its handlers. The bad news is Matt Ward like usual rewrote/ignored some of the established fluff to suit his tastes, though in this case it's very minor, for example Clar Karond is the Beastmasters city instead of Karond Kar like it was in every previous edition. They both deal in slaves but Clar Karond has most of the monsters now (even though or maybe because it's also the Dark Elves's main shipyard), leaving Karond Kar out in the cold (literally in the fluff). Malekith also gets an ex-wife, while not badly written it seems out of character for him and he never had one before. Another change is the fluff suggesting incest between Malekith and Morathi has been removed. An acceptable change, most likely done for GW's new target audience (and their parents). Now it's changed that Morathi is wet for her step-son, Tyrion, who she thinks to use to reincarnate Aenarion in a magic ritual to name a few.
- He had a hand in the new Wood Elves update, the fluff is good, though there have been changes to some of the characters, such as Ariel having a dark side and being more gullible (she's manipulated by her arch-enemy Morghur, as well as Morathi), the personality of each incarnation of Orion is influenced by the person sacrificed to revive him, and Skaw the Falconer is no more. The heavy hand of Thorpe-ian writing is also present, jacking off Chaos at the expense of the previously established elf canon. Crunch-wise the Wood Elves are arguably better at shooting (and definitely close combat) than before, but there were some major nerfs handed out to a few things; Dryads, Treemen and especially their magic items. The Lore of Athel Loren is also gone, making the race of isolationists feel more like a race of bipolar copycats.
- Writing Codex: Sentinels of Terra, he was a part of a team effort to write the book and put in charge of writing the fluff. Mostly talks about things anybody who has ever read anything about the Imperial Fist would know from other writings. Emphasizes on their Pride and Stubbornness being both their biggest strength and weakness. Went a little to far on the Assaulting when the Fist as best know for deference fighting and "Centurion Squads are awesome" (gotta push the new stuff, and the fluff does only focus on one Crusade), confusing them a bit with the Black Templars (though they are a successor chapter) and killing off their Chapter Master.
- Going by the writer's traits below, it looks like Ward may have had a hand in the new Dwarfs codex for WFB. For example, it has good balance but like the last book still allows them to field a potentially cheesy gunline army. The fluff is mostly unchanged though the few new bits make heavy use of the special characters, and a few uses of the word 'alas'.
- It turns out that Ward quietly left GW on May 2014, with the Wood Elves being his last book. The exact circumstances behind his departure are unknown (as is how nobody knew about this until it was posted on his LinkedIn profile three months after it happened), but seeing that Robin Cruddace is still employed at GW it's not likely that the quality of his work had anything to do with it.
With Rowboat Girlymans return, and the Blood Angels/Necron fistbump being turned into an entire campaign, the Time of Ending is coming any day now. In fact, with the revelation that he wrote Nagash and [], it truly is The End Times.
Excerpts from the Book of Ward
From the Cruddex
And the Monobuild
Mathew Ward deliver us.
But Mighty Ward cannot be everywhere at once, for the Cruddace is evil and devious!
The Beneficent Phil Kelly helps Ward, but the Cruddace is a dastardly trickster!
So then it is, that some codices must be sacrificed to the Ravages of the Cruddace.
But do not mourn for the Burdened, theirs is a holy task, and the Burdened who endure will be reborn into the Kingdom of Ward.
And to mock the Burdened for their troubles is to invite damnation into the Kingdom of Crud for your arrogance.
-Book of Ward, chapter 4, Verses 17-21.
Gallery of Fail
This is how Matt Ward views Spess Mehreens.
- Matt Ward's official homepage Surprisingly, there's an article of his here that makes the accusations of misogyny against him fall flat.
- A heretic most foul tries to defend his Spiritual Liege. The comments section was lost to the warp when the blog changed host, but it must have been a thing to behold.