Back in 4th Edition, we had the glory of the Chapter Traits system. So long as you balanced everything out, you could create a custom Marine Chapter that fit your taste, be it for story or competition. In 5th Edition, we had that carpet pulled out from under us, but it was replaced by the new musical chairs, HQ edition. Didn't feel like playing your Imperial Fists AS Imperial Fists? That's okay! Just use Calgar, paint him yellow, and give them a different rules set!
So far, the bonus in either of the past two editions, is that you could have your collection, model whatever you wanted according to the rules, and still use it. Who cares what color of the rainbow the figures were, so long as they were WYSIWYG, and your list was correct.
With the new 6th Edition Codex, however, and it's Chapter-specific rules, rather than character-specific ones, is this the end of the grand age of Counts-As?
Now before you think I'm up on a soapbox and crying out the end of the world, hear me out. When it comes to any other codex; Eldar, Blood Angels, Orks, Tau, etc., when you play that army, you play THAT army. Sure, Eldar may have multiple craftworlds, but in the end, a Dire Avenger is still a Dire Avenger, no matter what color he is painted. The new Codex Space Marines, however, is unique in that it covers many armies. Did you paint your Marines as Imperial Fists? Well look here, there are Imperial Fist Chapter-specific rules now! No more do the Chapter Traits live with a singular model, but they now essentially live within a paint scheme. Now you actually have different army-wide rules based on what chapter you painted your toy soldiers to look like, all within one singular codex. What do I think drove this?
Allies. Space Marines may now ally with other Space Marines of a different Chapter.
So what does that mean for those of us who actuality play as one of the First Founding Legions, or one of the specified Successor Chapters? I've got 4 different perspectives on that.
This is the first and most common answer. If you want to build and collect a force that you could play from any of the power armor codices, create your own Space Marines Chapter and have fun! Unfortunately, that completely ignores the fact that some of us own Chapters with set army rules, but it is an answer none-the-less.
You Painted Them Blue, You Play Them Blue!
This would be the hardline answer to the question. Have a Lysander converted and painted up as an Ultramarine? Too bad, no Imperial First rules for you! Have a Pedro Kantor painted as an Iron Snake? So sorry, but you're an Ultramarine Successor, no Crimson Fist rules for you! This is the easy road when it comes to the ruling, but it also voids and nullifies many armies out there because of the days of Counts-As. The Iron Snakes reference? That's my friend's army, so it applies, trust me.
WYSIWYG / List-Accuracy
"What You See Is What You Get" We all are very familiar with this acronym as it relates to the models and our army lists. My suggestion is that it applies to the wargear and models, and not be tied into the paint scheme. Okay sure, the army across the table may be painted as Raven Guard, but they have them modeled and pointed out as Blood Angels because they want to run them that way, then fine, so long as they are WYSIWYG. The same would go for someone running a Pre-Heresy Death Guard, out of the Loyalist Codex, and we're already okay with that, so why not other Chapters?
The final perspective. You want to run Raven Guard, but own Ultramarines? Okay, go buy new models and use the Allies Chart to bring them in as an allied force. This gets the least amount of attention for me, as it's tantamount to forcing us to purchase, model, paint and create an entirely new army. Which is not the point when it comes to a collection of one Chapter.
What do I think will be the deciding factor on this subject? The major players in the Tournament Circuit. Adepticon, Feast of Blades, NOVA, etc. At least in a competitive setting. What they rule will be how most will play it. My preference is the "WYSIWYG / List Accuracy" answer. Why?
'Cause they're my toys, I paid for them and so long as I'm not breaking any rules, then who cares?
What are your thoughts?