Expect huge amounts of derp and rage, punctuated by /tg/ extracting humor from it.
|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.|
"It would a shame if it wasn't."
-Matt Ward responding to Daemons of Chaos criticism about it being over powered. (He also claimed to have murdered Jesus in that same meeting. True fact.)
The TL:DR version; gamers are vicious twats who need to take their frustrations out on someone. The current whipping boy is Matt Ward, and the hate has become so great that he has now become (in /tg/s eye at least) a fictional, cartoon caricature of himself. At gamesday 2012 he shaved his head of his luscious locks fearing for hate from old guard and vet. gamers. (Or because his wife thought his beard was itchy, which is more likely.)
Almost any designer worth his salt at Games Workshop will be hated by at least somebody for something, and every writer's fluff will always contradict somebody else's sacred vision of the 40k universe. Gav Thorpe will never be forgiven for Codex: Chaos Space Marines, Robin Cruddace will forever be loathed by all Tyranid, C.S. Goto will always be synonymous with pooping on a typewriter.
Currently, the very devil is Ward. Given our tendency for hyperbole and love of memes, it’s the favourite topic of those who don’t have anything meaningful to say, or are simply looking to troll /tg/. Some won't let it go, of course, but we expect this to pass when they reach sexual maturity. (Which may well be never.)
 Factions of Ward
The various viewpoints on Ward can be broken up into six factions. They are all twats, however.
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 completely disregard of previously-established canon. The most devout of them focus their hatred on the new Necron codex. More than simple alterations isolated to the Necron fluff and the 6th ed codex. They vehemently argue that in messing with the past, Ward had changed Warhammer 40k history in total, 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.
The Counter-Culture - Love Ward on the grounds that the Old Guard hate him too much, often slips into full Wardinism. Not only. Counter Culture thinks Matt Ward tries to overcome the fatalistic post-modern fluff that was so popular in the late 80s and early 90s when the outlines of the WH40K universe were fixed. Opposite to a fanatic universe where there is only war, a hopeless humanity and a dark future that exudes a wry look on progress, Matt Ward proposes some luminous figures that contrast sharply with their environment. That this optimistic view about what a single person can achieve by itself is something already outdated and obsolete is another matter. Anyway Ward places the focus not only on the individual background, allowing him to carry depth studies on the personality of their characters, as opposed to the fanatic, loyal and stereotyped warrior of other codices that doesn't fit well with the idea of a divided humanity forever over the edge of doom and chaos temptation. Ward moves away from the catatonic hero that is absolutely dependent on his servants, that is considered the following step of postmodernism and is represented by the Emperor himself in his Golden Throne, Ward's heroes at least feel the powerlessness of their actions when trying to act upon history, which creates a very interesting chiaroscuro and enhances their codices. Examples are the new Necron fluff that essentially conveys sadness when verifying that the outcome of the vain ambitions of their leaders only brings loneliness, or the same loneliness in Kaldor Draigo's successful but futile struggle in the exile or Blood Angels unable to quench their blood thirst. Matt Ward's rules reflect this, maybe some are overpowered, but brings us a glimmer of hope knowing that there is something else behind the pain and common suffering.
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 say it's because hate is too great, 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.
 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.
There are two things Matt Ward is infamous for: atrocious fluff-writing that induces vomiting and broken army rule sets that turns them into table-flattening steamrollers. There's nothing uniquely Wardian about either of these things, and from an outsider's perspective it can be hard to tell why /tg/ has singled him out for vilification. Games Workshop has been systematically introducing power creep ever since they figured out they could make people buy a new army every year, and the fluff has been rewritten so many times there's basically nothing original left (and really does anybody want to remember second edition? Other than /tg/, we mean). No, its not what Ward has done in service to his dark masters, but how. We hate the zeal with which he's embraced GW's desire to rebrand everything 40k as X-treme and simplistic, the eagerness with which he turns the cheese wheel for each new release, the shamelessness of his trampling on canon.
Over hyping a single faction to the exclusion of all others, constantly blowing stories so far out of proportion that they lose all context or believability (especially in the face of previous fluff), constantly trying to one-up his last bullshit story with an even-less-believable story, and actively retconning contemporary writers who he disagrees with, Matt's abuses are pretty much what we've come to expect from Games Workshop writers. However, some Anon's have a hard-on for this one man, and have decided to ignore the constant butt-rape from the rest of GW team and blame Ward for everything. Including Global Warming, the rising cost of living and Facebook's new privacy policies.
In some anti-Ward threads, those who grow tired of this bullshit claim that everybody is just hopping on-board a Matt Ward hate-bandwagon. There's even a picture of a bunch of anons riding on a wagon with Ward's face on it, blaming Ward for everything from the Judean People's Front to head lice.
To be fair: It is undeniably true that /tg/ hates Ward so much that most of us are willing to blame anything on him - the man is basically Satan to every fa/tg/uy who used to love the 40k fluff. Is there something deeper at work here? The answer, of course, is who cares? He's just another poor schmuck being paid minimum wage by Games Workshop to churn out bullshit. GW's oppressive staffing policy prevent GW Design Studio staff from even having a Facebook page, so it's not as if he's going to defend himself.
In conclusion he is still viewed by many with animosity for his early fluff/crunch debacles and probably always will be, however there are others who view him with more ambivalence and believe that his slowly improving writing skills may yet atone for previous major fuck-ups; either way it appears that we are stuck with him for now so time will tell which of the two becomes the consensus viewpoint.
 A History of Violence
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. This, and Wards creepy fetish for Evil heralds the evil to come.... Don't forget 7th edition Orcs and Goblin book!
- 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 while simultaneously reinventing large portions of its fluff. 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 Roboute Guilliman 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, where his abilities are no better.
- 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. 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 in not turning the codex into another creepy sisters snuff-fic like his previous works, 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). In the end the codex is quietly accepted and though fatguys will never publicly admit it, both the crunch and fluff have marked improvement on the lingering cesspool that was 3E. except that it apparently 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 withquietly disposes of 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. 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. Whoa there, GK got nerfed HARD.
- According to a rumor, Matt Ward is apparently set to make a Codex for the Orks, and the same rumors also suggested he could be updating the Tyranids. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
- The link is down. I repeat - the link is down because the Blog has gone walkies.
- 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.
- He's responsible for the High Elves update. A number of the new units include extremely costly (40 eurobucks for 10 dudes!) and expensive to paint infantry (if GW's best painters have a bad time with "fire" effects, what chance does an average neckbeard have?), derpy new monsters (Firebird! Icebird! We couldn't add a lightning bird as well because Nintendo would sue us!) and a flying chariot pulled by a bird (the chariot itself flies because it's magic). Nerdrage all around. But it also solves a few op problems on the High Elves like the "everytime we cast it's Irresistible Forces" and the "we strike first with fricking great weapons". Also this was probably just a balancing thing and not on the account of Matt Ward.
 Why the Hate?
Because we need SOMETHING to be angry about. We have a hobby that rips us off at every turn and treats us like shit, and yet we still come back for more. Give us this, please. Let us hate a random stranger whom we're never likely to meet. Fuck the fact that he's a human being, we need SOMETHING to bitch about. Because he's an idiot, a fucking powergamer trying to overcome Phil Kelly in codex-writing (HA!), and assumes that we are also idiots. He keeps up the fine tradition (started with Jervis Johnson) of trying to make his pet projects the prettiest and most special. His stupid isn't OUR sort of stupid, so we hate him.
Hating Matt Ward on /tg/ is almost painful these days. Although his fluff writing skills are beyond average, he has been improving as far as writing balanced codices go. So one must ask, why all the unfettered rage? Can't /tg/ just ignore his fluff and play the game for what it is? Why not just make up your own fluff and ignore the guy?
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 away from the player, and hands them to twelve-year-old children new to the hobby. It's our game, not theirs. 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, his chosen faction. He spelled out the organization patterns, the ideologies, who they revere and why, and then proceeded to tell the community at large that if they don't do it that way, then they're making their army wrong. However, Ultramarines have always been the posterboys and GW's butt buddies, so he just continued the age long tradition of derp. Plus there is more non-Ultramarine fluff than ever before.
Players can still make their own factions, but with Ward's fluff, they'll always be bearing a black mark: the flaw of being unlike Ward's army. The flaw of being unique and of following a set of ideals that don't match Ward's. Because wargamers tends to be inflexible in their thinking, 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 doesn't appear to be, well, very smart or insightful. Either that, or he doesn't seem particularly well-educated in what he writes. His ideas on what makes good warfare and tactics seem based around the idea that might is right and strength equates victory. His grasp of the subtle nuances of conflict and managing people revolve around things far displaced from reality. Ward's heroes lead head first, sacrificing all in frontal assaults that could be circumvented with more ingenuity.
While there is such a thing as a front-line general, the fact is that all of his heroes are like that, and ones that aren't seem both vague and unfocused. Furthermore, Matt does a lot of telling rather than showing. 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".
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.
To be fair, Mat can write awesome (sometimes even DOUBLE AWESOME) and worthy fluff, able to earn respect from neckbeard society, like The World Engine, Castellan Crowe (who even this severely butthurt daemonhunters-now-GK-player has to admit IS pretty fucking cool) or Trazyn the Infinite, but for some reason he does not use this talent very often, sticking to cheap pathos, Mary Sues and insane amount of illogical favoritism. As with fluff goes, he also able to create a perfectly balanced crunch like Space Marine codex, or Nerons before 6-th edition edition buffed them to the stratosphere. The fact he continues creating shitty fluff and cheesy crunch while having enough skill and talent to craft a masterpiece is actually make people hate him even more.
Another problem with the simple "Ignore the Ward's Fluff" idea is that for many fluff players, 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 either way.
The controversy over Ward is so great that every Codex has at least one rumor that he has a hand in writing it, typically started by some fag who wants attention. Like any meme, eventually people have become tired of it. Ward threads tend to met with a response of 'meh' rather than overwhelming hate these days.
It is entirely possible that Ward may very well just be a talented writer who is basically being ground into the dirt by the GW corporate machine, and that he's just writing some of the shit he writes in an effort to just get his next damn paycheck and to be done with it...but this is complicated by some of the things he personally has said; reading his "spiritual liege" ramble for example tends to halt any momentum the sympathy-machine might have been building for him. It is, by his actions and his own words, just likely that he is actually a hack who nevertheless does occasionally have some gems come to him. But for every diamond, you get a half dozen giant coiled turds. Are there better writers out there? Undoubtedly. Are there worse? Also undoubtedly. Consider this section long and hard, and come to your own conclusions on where you stand; that's about as good advice as you can really get regarding him.
So... do any of you guys think that Matt might feel quite guilty of all the shit he has done? If not, then woe on to him.
 Also Misogyny
There is a disturbing tendency in Matt Ward's works to have the Sisters of Battle get horribly butchered in roughly 70% Ward's fluff. Whilst the ultimate example is the Khornate Knights incident, there's at least half-a-dozen works in official canon since the release of the 5th edition rulebook where the Sisters get horrifically butchered or worse.
Virtually the entire Sisters of Battle army was retconned out of existence by the omission of two paragraphs of text in the fifth-edition rulebook, and there are multiple cases of the sisters being corrupted, destroyed, and/or massacred. This has lead some to accuse Ward of sexual deviancy but it's probably really shitty writing ("Women in Refrigerator Syndrome") rather than a pathological hatred of vaginas.
The High Elves rulebook is a great example of how Matt can never win (because gamers are twats). He brought back the Everqueen and her bodyguard and was immediately accused of trying to make up for previous sexism. Fucks Sake.
 Your Fault As Well
Perhaps another reason why fa/tg/uys hate ward so much is due to, despite the hatred for him, his success. The case is rather clear - look at the number of people playing Grey Knights, Blood Angels, Necrons these days, ruthlessly exploiting every bit of cheese they can and purchasing up all the new shiny overpriced models for them.
Ward is your greatest enemy and yet you feed him on your very souls and cash. If you truly wanted things to change you would refuse his codexes, adapting previous versions. You would not purchase models based on these new codexes and make it clear to your local GW store why you are not. You would defiantly raise the middle finger to GW until they understood that enough was enough.
On the other hand, oohhh, look at all the shiny Stormravens. Maybe Ward will give the
Black Templars Dark Angels FLYING Dreadnaughts. Luckily he hasn't...Yet. Wouldn't that be so cool? And it happened. Now the Stormraven is available to Vanilla Marines (read: Ultrasmurfs) and Black Templars.
Thankfully, it's not all bad news.
/tg/ has gotten shit done in its time-honored tradition, and now boasts a veritable legion of players who are rage casting or using alternate methodologies (such as using GS modeling) in order to bypass the pricey barriers brought about by GW's tendency to charge upwards of 75 dollars for a hill of dirt in a terrain piece. Considering that Games Workshop has been slowly bleeding money for years even with the shiny new content, there's no question that /tg/ is definitely having an impact in this endeavor - though to what degree is a matter of conjecture.
Sometimes it feels that Matt Ward is a scapegoat used by GW in order to hide behind when they make a mistake. Sure Matt Ward probably shouldn't be allowed to touch any Codex, but there is no way he could be involved in price increases or digital copies of codexes that are the same price as paper back books. That all falls under the purview of the GW Shadow leadership.
 Gallery of Fail
This is how Matt Ward views Spess Mehreens.
 See Also
- 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.