Warhammer 40,000/Tactics(8E)

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Hello. This page is meant to index pages for the Warhammer 40,000 tactics dumps.


Listbuilding 101[edit]

Money, time, and (a lot of) effort.

Pick an army you like, for whichever reason, and memorise its index/codex. Start with a HQ and two Troops. Troops are the backbone of many armies, although you don't technically need any to play a game if you don't want em. They tend to be slow, reliable and good for holding objectives.

Next decide on a play style. Even within an army this can vary a lot, as Mech Guard is very different from Blob Guard, and Bike Marines are different from Drop Assault Marines.

Note that it's acceptable to go though these two stages in the opposite order. Pick a play style and then an army that fits it. If you want to drown your enemy in cheap bodies then you don't want to play Space Marines, but Orks, Nids or Imperial Guard. If you're a treadhead then you might find yourself at home in the Guard rather than Dark Eldar, but if you like flyers and fast, paper-thin vehicles they fit the bill (plus their vehicles are *gorgeous*). For the weeaboos we have the fishes with vagina foreheads in Gundam battleships, while if you have a penchant for scratchbuilding stuff out of trash you are at home with the space fungus and their ramshackle vehicles and weapons... and if you like 80s scifi movies and/or have a preference for robots that aren't from anime, go nuts with the metalheads.

Next if you want a chance of winning you need to balance enough anti infantry power (typically high number of shots at mid-low strength and AP with 1-2 damage) to counter hordes (Guard,Orks,Nids) and enough anti tank power (few shots at high strength, high AP and high damage) to counter a wall of tanks, heavy infantry, and/or monsters (Guard, Space Marines/Chaos Space Marines, Nid-zilla). Most armies fall in between these categories, but it's best to keep the extremes in mind when building your army.

It's also a good idea to look over the codex and tactics for armies other than your own, so you know what kind of forces and strategies other players will bring to the table.


Building a Successful 40k Army[edit]

"Good players build a list to deal with whatever may come their way. Bad players build a list hoping their opponent cannot counter it."

In theory, two people can attempt to build armies to out-tailor and out-counter each others' hard counters, but in practice, it's easier to attempt to strive for something resembling a "Takes-All Comers" army; if nothing else, sticking with the same army and gradually making adjustments to it as you learn what works and what doesn't work, will improve your skill as a player, compared to going "Fool, you think your Wraithknight can save you next time. I shall return with POISON!"

So, what makes a TAC list anyway? What with fliers, and psykers, big tanks and giant robots, what *can* we include to make our army safe and sane? Although these are not fundamentals, in many cases, the following are safe bets:


  • Take only the HQ you need: Many HQs have historically been overcosted while not contributing to your army as a whole. There are many notable exceptions to this rule, but for many armies, an HQ is an expensive tax you build into your army's cost. 8E has made this even more prominent: as compulsory troops do not exist in some of the alternate FOC types, HQs fill the role of compulsory units instead.

In general, the two extremes for HQ units are: a pure beatstick, or a pure buff dealer. Most will fall somewhere to one side of the spectrum.

    • When choosing buff-HQ's, you should make the most of their buffs. Look at the buff and see what units benefit the most from this so you can make good combinations. For example: Re-roll 1's to wound, is a nice buff. But it's better on High strength weapons that wound on 3+ or 2+ than it is on weapons that wound on 5+. Pay attention to keywords as well, as something may work only on infantry, and bikers may not be infantry. Also, pay close attention to if the rules mention 'model within 6" ' or 'unit within 6" ' as this can make a major difference in how you need to place the units on the field. For detachments with multiple buffing HQs, try to make their buffs synergize with each other: a good example of this is pairing a Space Marine Ancient (which allows slain infantry units to make one last shooting or melee attack when they die) with an Apothecary (which has a chance of bringing the slain infantry back to life again).
  • Know your Point Level: A 2000-point game is *not* a 1000-point game with 1000 points tacked onto it. As your games grow in size, you need to make sure you have a unit to cover every need that might crop up during a game. Support characters with auras suddenly become more viable when they have 5 units within their aura instead of just 1. General point-levels for 40k include:
    • 200-500ish points: At this level, you're playing Kill Team instead, or probably Heralds of Ruin.
    • 1000 points: Kitchen table level. Common for new players testing a few units out.
    • 1500 points: This is generally considered the smallest point level for tournaments.
    • 1850 points: If you're in the states, most tournaments will use this point-level. NoVa and Da Boyz, as do the Bay Area Open and the Las Vegas Open (which are run by the same team).
    • 2000 points: This was the previous point level for the NoVa US GT, and is still the point level for the Narrative Campaign. Some other tournaments may use this level but it's being superceded in favor of 1850 points.-->
    • 2500 points: Aka clusterfuck-hammer. Back when GW used to run 'Ard Boyz, this was the point-level they used. Of course, they ran it in 5th edition, where you only had *one* FOC, equivalent to having only one Detachment. What this meant for a lot of armies was that they could take their "good" units, run out of slots, then be forced to take lots of filler. Meanwhile, Guard could just keep scaling up, adding more tanks to their squadrons, adding more squads to their platoons...we don't speak much of this point level.
    • Apocalypse and Beyonddddd: WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! Ahem: This point level generally lends itself to an entirely different kind of play. Here you're not worried about composition, so much as sheer firepower. Spamming Superheavies, and units with extreme range will get you much farther here than 6 troop choices all kitted out. Remember that Eldar Rifle that has a range of 160"? Here's where you can actually shoot from one corner to the other of a Double-Lengthwise Table that's the staple of 6000 point games.
  • Build an Army, not a Mob: Remember that your units should support each other. Generally, you want to avoid "Pure" armies, or gravitating towards one extreme of list-building. While running a pure foot horde may look aesthetically appealing, it will suffer against players running mass mechanized vehicles (plus it will be a major chore to paint, and your turns will take forever...). While running a small elite squad may play quicker (and be cheaper), each casualty *hurts*. Notable "Pure" armies that can work with some luck and effort:

TO BE UPDATED FOR 8E

    • The Scuttling Swarm: Aka "Horde" Tyranids; Tyranids in theory can drown an opponent in bodies and win (This also works for Guard). Key word is "in theory." Hell, this is even more plausible with 8e letting everything wound on a 6 no matter their toughness. The issue is, most of those attacks will be single damage so will take ages to chip off points from beefy models (but on the bright side, it also makes tarpits into a potential death of a thousand cuts for even dedicated melee units/characters). Also, the aforementioned issue of your turn taking forever. On the other hand, Objective Secured has been replaced with "whoever had the most models on the objective controls it", which means a large enough money can make an objective nigh impossible for an opponent to take. While Objective Secured will be reintroduced in Chapter Approved (and has already been given to Space Marines, Grey Knights, and Chaos Space Marines under different names), that won't mean much if the swarm outnumbers the opponent's Troops, or if the opponent is relying on FOCs with few Troops slots.
    • Deathwing: Be it by Plasma or mass shooting, each casualty is noticed. You move slowly relative to other infantry, and are forced to rely on melee to de-mech your opponents. May now actually work thanks to vanilla Terminators 2 wounds each, the rework to AP letting Terminators keep their armor saves against plasma to some degree, apothecaries being able to heal wounded models/revive dead models, and the awesomeness of dreadnoughts.
    • Swordwind Aspect Warrior armies: Nope, you won't take "one unit of Fire Dragons, one of Scorpions, and one of Banshees." Many of them share a FOC slot, so unless you want to pay for a lot of extra detachments it just won't be viable. Plus, with all of them being so specialized, it only takes the loss of one squad to leave the rest of the force all but unable to handle a given type of opponent.
  • Cicadas and you!: Cicadas follow an evolutionary stratagem known as "Predator satiation", other wise known as "The predators can't eat all of us!". I mention this because it's something to keep in mind. While it's true that the above pure armies need effort to use successfully, there is something to be said in running lots of something, since you know your opponent can't kill them all. It's OK to have a strong theme and have a predominance of one type of unit since you know your opponent can't wipe you out the majority of your army fast enough with the dedicated weapons they have, just don't use it mindlessly and grab nothing but Gaunts or Terminators or something. As ever balance is key, it can be an imbalance, just so long as there is some balance. This balance is mostly in the weapons you yourself can bring. Often specialising on one type of unit severely limits the types of weapons you can bring yourself (see Gaunts). If you can bring enough different Anti-infantry, Anti-tank and long and short-ranged firepower by taking one type of unit, you can make it work. The death of 7th editions AP system helps to make all terminators somewhat more viable for example.
  • Several successful tournament armies in the past have a few things in common, to use some case studies:
    • An Eldar player running Wave Serpents (3 with Avengers, 2 with Fire Dragons), Nightspinners, Hawks, and a Wraithknight has the advantage that *all* of his units are fast, there's anti-tank and anti-infantry threat built into most every unit, and can comfortably stay back and play a defensive game, while still having the means to flush out the occasional unit in melee as need be.
    • A Space Marine player running White Scars Bikers and allied with Space Wolf Thunderwolf Cavalry has the advantage of an army that moves *fast*, has mobile shooting, the ability to threaten giant monstrous creatures at long-range, and the ability to use the melee prowess of Thunderwolves as a mobile anchorpoint.
    • Another Space Marine player using Sentinels of Terra rules ran lots of Scouts backed by Lascannon Devastators and a Thunderfire Cannon, lead by Lysander escorting a unit of Grav-Cannon Centurions, backed it up with an allied detachment of Flesh Tearers (including a Librarian, meltagun drop squad, and Mephiston). The Scouts were able to run through cover, capping and holding objectives, while being able to finish off any errant units that wandered near them.

All three armies have a few things in common which made their armies work well:

  • All three of them have several ways to deal with tanks, and light/heavy infantry. The bike loses out on "ranged" anti-tank for the ability to force numerous threats at once (as well as being able to pack multimeltas), all tough and fast ones to boot.
  • All three of them have some primary advantage with regards to movement; not only does being fast let you move around the game board faster, but high speed also lets you more effectively take advantage of Reserves. In the case of the Sentinels list, the loss of 12" movement was offset by having Infiltrate & Scout rules, and having access to Drop Pods.
  • All three of them are primarily shooty, but have at least one big "beatstick": Building an army purely for assault won't get you too far (Argueably not exactly true, YMMV), but having at least one tough guy will keep your opponent honest.

This isn't the only successful paradigm for building a list, but understanding "Beatsticks anchoring lots of mobile fire teams" (Or "Heavy Cavalry + Horse Archers") will get you far.

More detailed specifics will are found in the "Individual Army Tactics" of course.

  • MSU: Multiple Small Units

Many small units has both advantages and disadvantages in 8th. Scoring is done by counting the 'most models within 3" of the objective", so more models give you a better chance of capturing an objective. And the player with less individual units will have a good chance of getting the first turn. On the other hand, many small units allow you to fill more or bigger detachments, so you get more command points. The advantage of smaller units is tactical flexibility in movement, you can use them better as speed-bumps for enemy assaults and you have more diversity in units. In addition, because armies are deployed one unit at a time alternating between both players, an MSU player will most likely have deployed nothing but cheap chaff squads up to the point where his opponent has to set up his most important units, thus giving advantageous information to the MSU player.

  • Skirmish army for that guy The rules in the index tell you that if you 'cannot' field a minimum sized unit you can field less and only pay points for the models you do field. A brigade of 3 HQ and 6 tac sergeant, 3 veteran sergeants, 3 assault sergeants and 3 devastator marines with a lascannon is thus a viable build. Yes. 1 model units. 13 points for a tactical squad consisting of a single sergeant, or 24 with a combi-flamer. The HQ's are the expensive part here, but if you're not worried about command points you can just field endless auxiliary detachments. The problems: overwatch fire killing every single charging model, plus your own overwatch fire is reduced (who cares). The fun: your opponent having to use his demolisher or artillery piece to shoot single marines. Oh, and you're very likely to get tabled. Good for a laugh in casual games though.
  • ADDENDUM AND CORRECTION: RAW state "...you can still include one unit of that type in your army with as many models as you have available." RAI seem to indicate that this means you can't have more than a single understrength unit within your entire army, not just per detachment. Actual intention of this remains to be seen as it wasn't addressed in the FAQ.
  • FAQed to only be allowed in Auxillary detachments with in Matched Play, costing 1CP per under-strength squad and preventing them from being used to spam detachments.

Detachments for Dummies[edit]

Outside of Open Play where anything goes, your army needs to be Battle-Forged in order to be usable. While in 7e this meant using either the old Combined Arms Detachment of previous editions or one of the faction exclusive FOCs to make your force into a single Detachment, you now can build an army composed of as many detachments as you see fit to use (as long as it remains within the points limit, of course). While some of them are very similar if not identical to the CAD, many more are modified to emphasize a specific non-Troops slot.

Each Detachment you take will grant you the use of a certain number of Command Points (CP), which are used for Stratagems. Everyone starts with 3 CP, but the total number can vary depending on how many Detachments you take and what types of Detachments those are. Knowing which Detachment types will work best for your army will help you significantly when listbuilding.

Patrol Detachment[edit]

  • Mandatory Units: 1 HQ, 1 Troops
    • Optional Units:+1 HQ, , +2 Troops, +2 Elites, +2 Fast Attack, +2 Heavy Support, +2 Flyers, 1 Dedicated Transport per other choice taken
  • Restrictions: All units must be from the same faction.
  • Command Benefits: None

The cheapest detachment type that still works well enough to serve as a framework for a list. Best suited for low points games, though.

Battalion Detachment[edit]

  • Mandatory Units: 2 HQ, 3 Troops
    • Optional Units:+1 HQ, +3 Troops, +6 Elites, +3 Fast Attack, +3 Heavy Support, +2 Flyers, 1 Dedicated Transport per other choice taken
  • Restrictions: All units must be from the same faction.
  • Command Benefits: +3 CP

Probably the most common type of detachment, striking a good balance between a high CP yield and a reasonable cost. If you're concerned about point costs or want a couple extra CP to play around with, you can always skip on the optional slots and use other Detachment options to deploy them instead. Armies without cheap troops or Objective Secured equivalents will probably do best elsewhere, as troops are less integral in 8th and have to pull their weight a lot harder.

Brigade Detachment[edit]

  • Mandatory Units: 3 HQ, 6 Troops, 3 Elites, 3 Fast Attack, 3 Heavy Support
    • Optional Units:+2 HQ, , +6 Troops, +5 Elites, +2 Fast Attack, +2 Heavy Support, +2 Flyers, 1 Dedicated Transport per other choice taken
  • Restrictions: All units must be from the same faction.
  • Command Benefits: +9 CP

When you want to go big or go home, this is the detachment you want to rely on. It'll probably cost a lot of points, but you'll have plenty of CP to throw around in any game you play with it. Since there is no actual 8th Edition rules for Apocalypse at the time of writing, this is a good way of bringing a shit ton of units if you're not using Lords of War and/or cobbling together various detachments.

Vanguard Detachment[edit]

  • Mandatory Units: 1 HQ, 3 Elites
    • Optional Units:+1 HQ, , +3 Troops, +3 Elites, +2 Fast Attack, +2 Heavy Support, +2 Flyers, 1 Dedicated Transport per other choice taken
  • Restrictions: All units must be from the same faction.
  • Command Benefits: +1 CP.

The Elites-focused detachment. Unlike the other Detachments that focus on a single FOC slot, it doesn't offer the potential for more slots than the CAD-style detachments and in fact has fewer Elites slots than the Brigade- but what it does have is a much lower number of taxes to go along with said Elites, making it cheaper points-wise than just filling up all the slots in a Battalion or Brigade detachment. Armies with a lot of potent characters that work well in conjunction with each other but compete with equally strong line units (such as vanilla Space Marines) will do well with this.

Spearhead Detachment[edit]

  • Mandatory Units: 1 HQ, 3 Heavy Support
    • Optional Units:+1 HQ, , +3 Troops, +2 Elites, +2 Fast Attack, +3 Heavy Support, +2 Flyers, 1 Dedicated Transport per other choice taken
  • Restrictions: All units must be from the same faction.
  • Command Benefits: +1 CP

Do you like having lots of tanks and big guns but would rather not have to bring along all that squishy infantry with you? Then this is the Detachment for you! Special mention goes to the Imperial Guard: when they run Leman Russes in a Spearhead, the tanks get Objective Secured!

Outrider Detachment[edit]

  • Mandatory Units: 1 HQ, 3 Fast Attack
    • Optional Units:+1 HQ, +3 Troops, +2 Elites, +3 Fast Attack, +2 Heavy Support, +2 Flyers, 1 Dedicated Transport per other choice taken
  • Restrictions: All units must be from the same faction.
  • Command Benefits: +1 CP

An ideal detachment for lists focusing on speedy alpha strikes to hit the other guy first; Eldar and Dark Eldar in particular will benefit from this since it gives them an opportunity to load up on Jetbikes/Scourges/Razorwing Flocks.

Supreme Command Detachment[edit]

  • Mandatory Units: 3 HQ
    • Optional Units:+2 HQ, +1 Elites, 1 Lord of War, 1 Dedicated Transport per other choice taken
  • Restrictions: All units must be from the same faction.
  • Command Benefits: +1 CP

This is the detachment you want to take when you want all the special characters in your army at once. Or if you're a Tyranid player who's really concerned about synapse range. Tau like this because their HQ and Lords of war are excellent and most of their troops and elites are not. Keep in mind the statement made earlier that HQ in 8th tend to be a tax and seldom perform to their cost. That said, armies like the the Craftworld Eldar who have viable character spam builds, and really like having lots of Psyker support can use this to spam absurdly cheap Warlocks for 37 points per model.

Super-Heavy Detachment[edit]

  • Mandatory Units: 3 Lords of War
    • Optional Units: +2 Lords of War
  • Restrictions: All units must be from the same faction.
  • Command Benefits: +3 CP.

Command benefits are better than the other mono-FOC Detachments, but it will fucking eat up your points like there's no tomorrow. If you field this at its full size of 5 Lords of War, you are either playing a game of Apocalypse scale or are That Guy.

Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment[edit]

  • Mandatory Units: 1 Lords of War
  • Restrictions: None
  • Command Benefits: None

As most people will almost certainly only have one LoW in their armies at any given time, this is the detachment they'll use to get their Knight/Baneblade/Wraithknight onto the field.

Air Wing Detachment[edit]

  • Mandatory Units: 3 Flyers
    • Optional Units: +2 Flyers
  • Restrictions: All units must be from the same faction.
  • Command Benefits: +1 CP

The air support detachment, best suited for factions that want to milk their flyers for all their worth. Also, the only detachment that gives you Command Points without an HQ (or three superheavies). Keep note that the big disadvantage of this Detachment is that Flyers can't contest objectives, and if you only have Flyers on the table you are automatically tabled. Be careful if you plan to sink a lot of points into these Detachments.

Fortification Network[edit]

  • Mandatory Units: 1 Fortification
    • Optional Units: +2 Fortifications
  • Restrictions: None
  • Command Benefits: None

Your buildings, fortresses, and walls. Being able to field large numbers of fortifications was something of an issue in 7th, but this detachment allows you to keep your turtle up to your heart's content (or at least take 6 fortifications if you're in Matched).

Auxiliary Support Detachment[edit]

  • Mandatory Units: 1 HQ or 1 Troops or 1 Elites or 1 Fast Attack or 1 Heavy Support or 1 Flyer or 1 Dedicated Transport
  • Restrictions: Can only consist of a single unit.
  • Command Benefits: -1 CP

You read that right. Unlike all other Detachments, you lose CP for every Auxiliary Support Detachment you bring. Needless to say, you should avoid taking this type of Detachment at all costs.

  • It is, however the only detachment in which you can bring under strength squads to matched play, so there's that. Still a terrible choice of detachment, though.

Mix and Match Detachments: With the Codexes being released, many armies are receiving "chapter tactics" or their equivalent. Basically it is a buff to your units if the whole detachment belongs to a particular sub-faction like a Forge World or Space Marine Chapter. While some buffs are particularly tasty, be advised to use this judiciously. Most armies have HQs with a buff aura that only affects members of their subfaction. Running three small detachments of Space Marines from various Chapters could mean paying a heavy HQ tax for characters that might only affect a small portion of your army. Similarly using small detachments for bringing in "allies" runs much the same risk. Some armies can get around this more easily than others; the Guard for example have some Regimental Doctrines that have different effects for vehicles and infantry; if you only want the former, you might consider using two detachments of different regiments. Ultimately the age of universal buff characters is gone and so larger detachments, for those armies that can afford them, tend to perform better overall than multiple smaller ones from different sub-factions. Keep in mind that while you can field units from different factions in a single detachment if they have at least one faction keyword in common (e.g. IMPERIUM, these detachments will not benefit from any of the chapter tactics equivalents that may be applicable to their constituent members and can also interfere with the use of faction-specific Stratagems.

Looking for advice[edit]

Note the large amount of excess information
I really hope you wouldent do this anon-kun
A much improved version


So you've managed to hamfistedly slap together your first list, its even won you a few games. but is it good? probably not, so you go to one of TeeGee's list threads, and immediately get yelled at for your poor formatting, lack of experience and general overall clean-shavenness


here are some do's and dont's in a list thread


DO:- Post what you want to do with this list (tournament, casual etc)

DO:- Post the points limit

DO:- Post the total cost of each model (for characters) or unit

DO:- List the upgrades a unit has taken

DO:- List the dedicated transports a unit has taken

DO:- Clearly identify which detachment each unit belongs to



DONT:- Post the individual cost break down for each upgrade

DONT:- Post the individual stats of a unit

DONT:- Copy the list directly from battle scribe (or equivalent)

DONT:- List ALL the war gear/special rules a model/unit has

DONT:- List all the command benefits a individual detachment has

DONT:- bump excessively either, as that will diminish the likelihood anons will respond.

DONT:- be a wanker to somebody who gave you negative feedback. they gave it for a reason


Also remember, to get feed back, an anon who either plays or knows your army has to see it. This means you might have to post it a few times, at different times of the day, or included an image in the post. The less played the army the less likely you will get feedback first time: Chaos usually gets feed back first time, but Sisters generally have to repost a few time. Just be patient

Playing the Game[edit]

Movement 101[edit]

Topics covered so far:

  • How movement works.
  • Common rules mistakes.
  • Basic advice regarding movement.
  • Accurate and predictable measuring.
  • Countering enemy movement.

Anchors[edit]

An anchor is a unit whose job is to allow you to deep strike units more effectively. As Matched Play requires at least 50% of an army to be on the board on the first turn, it is important to ensure that the units that begin on the board can last long enough for their allies to reach them. Each army capable of deep striking tends to have its deep strikers concentrated in specific slots, so it is advised to use slots other than those to pick your anchors from. Regardless of the slot used, the general rule is to use the cheapest unit types available in order to save points for the deep striking forces.

Examples include the following:

  • Space Marines: Apart from Drop Pods, the main deep strikers are Terminators and jump pack units. Scouts are probably your best bet.
    • Space Wolves: Like vanilla marines, they mainly deep strike Terminators, jump pack units, and Drop Pods, but special mention goes to the Cyberwolves, which are extremely cheap but still useful in their own right.
  • Imperial Guard: Elysians in particular are heavily reliant on deep striking many if not all of their possible Elites choices, as well as a handful of their vehicles; the Militarum Tempestus units are also fairly well geared for deep strikes. Tarantulas, Scout/Armored Sentinels, and basic Infantry Squads/Conscripts are all useful choices to act as anchors in this respect.
  • Chaos Space Marines: Cultists are an obvious choice as an anchor- they're cheap, expendable, and also make good meatshields. Similarly to the Loyalists, CSMs are most likely to deep strike Terminators and jump pack units (as well as Obliterators/Mutilators).

Psychic Phase (AKA: mind bullet time)[edit]

Link to main article: Psychic Phase 101

New as of 7th, the psychic phase is where you use your vast array of mind powers.

Combat 101[edit]

While Shooting and Fighting are separated below, they largely share rules, much like how Movement and Charging are in separate phases, but share many rules and concepts. By and large, any attack you make has 5 values: Attacks (which is rate of fire), Accuracy (typically WS or BS), Strength, AP, and Damage. These values are converted into other values in context (for example, attacks are left alone, but accuracy requires dividing by 6), then those values are multiplied together to determine how many wounds you actually expect to knock off your target. They resolve in this order, in general:

  1. Determine number of Attacks.
  2. Roll to hit, based on accuracy.
  3. Roll to wound, based on strength and toughness.
  4. Target rolls to save, based on its saving throws.
    • While all rolls are subject to re-rolls and modifiers, the most common modifiers in the game apply here, such as AP and Cover.
  5. Roll to damage.
  6. If the target has a "Feel No Pain" type rule, it rolls that against damage, much like a saving throw.

As will be discussed below, you always re-roll before applying modifiers.

Attacks[edit]

This can be random, such as 1d3, or 1d6, or 2d3. There is a section below on dice averages, but for attacks, you can safely treat a random value as its average for the purposes of working out how much damage a given attack will do to a given target. More often, it will be a constant number- melee weapons generally use the Attacks stat of the user, while ranged weapons will specify the number of attacks they can perform in their profile.

Accuracy[edit]

By and large, this will be a WS or BS value. Regardless of the name of the stat, here called "AS" for "Accuracy Skill", the basic odds of hitting is:

(7-AS)/6

  • An ability to re-roll ones will multiple this value by 7/6.
  • An ability to re-roll all failures is more complicated, as accuracy is buffed more the worse that it is; the overall formula is:
    • 1-(1-(7-AS)/6)^2
  • If you are forced to re-roll successes, the formula becomes:
    • ((7-AS)/6)^2
  • You never re-roll a die twice, so if you re-roll successes and failures, the net impact is as if you had no re-roll ability - instead, you will end up rolling the die, ignoring the result, rolling it again, and then moving on to additive modifiers.
  • Adding or subtracting a number to hit will behave as you expect - +1 to hit equals -1 to AS, and vice versa - with the caveat that improving your AS past 2+ does not accomplish anything, as you always miss on a 1. Your AS can be degraded to 7+ or worse, at which point you will automatically miss.
  • Mixing re-rolls with additive modifiers is a bit tricky, and the general formula is involved; it is presented here for the interested, but the table below is probably more useful in practice.
    • reroll_failures is the number at or below which you may re-roll if it is a failure; this is typically 0 (no buff), 1 (re-roll 1s), or 5 (or more, for re-roll all failures).
    • reroll_success is the number at or above which you must re-roll if it is a success; since most debuffs that do this do it for all successes, you would use "2" (or any value less than 2) for those, or "7" otherwise.
    • modifier is the net result of adding up all positive and negative additive modifiers to the roll.
    • numerator = (7-AS)/6
    • numerator = max(min(numerator,6),0)
    • reroll_success = min(7-max(min(reroll_success,7),2),numerator)
    • reroll_failure = max(7-max(min(reroll_failure,6),0),7-numerator)
    • numerator = max(min(numerator+modifier,5),0)
    • accuracy = (numerator*(reroll_success+max(7-max(reroll_failure,numerator+1,reroll_success+1),0))+max(numerator-reroll_success,0)*6)/36

Here is the general accuracy table; one of your big take-aways should be how powerful modifiers are, as some models have access to negative modifiers to incoming attacks, which is a drastically better durability buff, in practice, than almost any other durability buff available.

General Accuracy
Accuracy -2 To Hit -1 To Hit +0 To Hit +1 To Hit +2 To Hit
Keep Failures and Keep Successes
6+ 00.00% 00.00% 16.67% 33.33% 50.00%
5+ 00.00% 16.67% 33.33% 50.00% 66.67%
4+ 16.67% 33.33% 50.00% 66.67% 83.33%
3+ 33.33% 50.00% 66.67% 83.33% 83.33%
2+ 50.00% 66.67% 83.33% 83.33% 83.33%
Keep Failures and Reroll Successes
6+ 00.00% 00.00% 02.78% 22.22% 41.67%
5+ 00.00% 05.56% 11.11% 33.33% 55.56%
4+ 08.33% 16.67% 25.00% 50.00% 75.00%
3+ 22.22% 33.33% 44.44% 72.22% 72.22%
2+ 41.67% 55.56% 69.44% 69.44% 69.44%
Reroll Ones and Keep Successes
6+ 00.00% 00.00% 19.44% 38.89% 58.33%
5+ 00.00% 19.44% 38.89% 58.33% 77.78%
4+ 19.44% 38.89% 58.33% 77.78% 97.22%
3+ 38.89% 58.33% 77.78% 97.22% 97.22%
2+ 58.33% 77.78% 97.22% 97.22% 97.22%
Reroll Ones and Reroll Successes
6+ 00.00% 00.00% 05.56% 27.78% 50.00%
5+ 00.00% 08.33% 16.67% 41.67% 66.67%
4+ 11.11% 22.22% 33.33% 61.11% 88.89%
3+ 27.78% 41.67% 55.56% 86.11% 86.11%
2+ 50.00% 66.67% 83.33% 83.33% 83.33%
Reroll Failures and Keep Successes
6+ 00.00% 00.00% 19.44% 38.89% 58.33%
5+ 00.00% 22.22% 44.44% 66.67% 88.89%
4+ 25.00% 50.00% 75.00% 88.89% 97.22%
3+ 55.56% 75.00% 88.89% 97.22% 97.22%
2+ 75.00% 88.89% 97.22% 97.22% 97.22%
Reroll Failures and Reroll Successes
6+ 00.00% 00.00% 05.56% 27.78% 50.00%
5+ 00.00% 11.11% 22.22% 50.00% 77.78%
4+ 16.67% 33.33% 50.00% 72.22% 88.89%
3+ 33.33% 50.00% 66.67% 86.11% 86.11%
2+ 50.00% 66.67% 83.33% 83.33% 83.33%

Strength[edit]

This works a lot like accuracy, above, except for the first step - instead of your baseline being (7-AS)/6, it depends on your target's toughness, and scales with the base 2 logarithm of the numbers at hand, not linearly - 1 strength is usually less than +1/6 to the result, as opposed to doing the same thing with accuracy. The formula below is quite messy, but doing it yourself is quite easy:

  • Attacker's Strength greater than or equal to twice target's toughness: 2+
  • Attacker's Strength greater than target's toughness, but less than twice: 3+
  • Attacker's Strength equal to target's toughness : 4+
  • Attacker's Strength less than target's toughness, but more than half: 5+
  • Attacker's Strength less than or equal to half of target's toughness: 6+

The general formula:

  • toughness = max(min(strength*2,toughness),toughness/2)
    • This is done because the minimum result must be 1 and the max must be 5, which can be done at any step if you know how - here it is done immediately.
  • logarithm = log(strength,2)-log(toughness,2)
    • This is the base 2 logarithm of each value.
  • numerator = 3 + ceil(logarithm) + floor(logarithm)
    • ceil and floor are the ceiling and floor operations, respectively.
      • Note: This is not actual rounding, and rounding instead will give you incorrect results.
  • probability = numerator/6

Once you're done, you can feed your odds of wounding into the accuracy table, above, if you have any modifiers to the wound roll, such as +1 or rerolling 1s. To save space, that is not repeated here, but here are example base wound odds so you can use the above table (expressed as rollables, like accuracy is, for ease). Toughness above 10 is virtually nonexistent, particularly relative to high strength values, so the table cuts off there, but it extends very intuitively.

Wound Rolls, Toughness vs Strength
Toughness\Strength 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
1 4+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+
2 6+ 4+ 3+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+
3 6+ 5+ 4+ 3+ 3+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+
4 6+ 6+ 5+ 4+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+
5 6+ 6+ 5+ 5+ 4+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+
6 6+ 6+ 6+ 5+ 5+ 4+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+
7 6+ 6+ 6+ 5+ 5+ 5+ 4+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+
8 6+ 6+ 6+ 6+ 5+ 5+ 5+ 4+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+
9 6+ 6+ 6+ 6+ 5+ 5+ 5+ 5+ 4+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 2+ 2+ 2+
10 6+ 6+ 6+ 6+ 6+ 5+ 5+ 5+ 5+ 4+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 2+

AP[edit]

Basic saving throws work very intuitively, broadly identical to accuracy - a 6+ save works just like 6+ to hit - except that the target rolls it, not the shooter. AP is simply a modifier to this save, like any other - meaning that if any rules are in play to re-roll saves, they will, of course, happen before the AP is applied. There is no practical benefit beyond having an AP of 5 less than your target's save (the target cannot do worse than automatically failing their save). As you can see in the accuracy table, this means that an AP of -1 is often quite valuable, reducing by half, for example, the effectiveness of 2+ armor, but you get rapidly diminishing returns as AP improves.

The other major caveats to cover here are cover and invulnerability.

Cover[edit]

Cover is typically a flat +1 modifier to armour saves that does not apply in the Fight phase but otherwise applies only to Shooting attacks (so shooting attacks in the Fight phase ignore cover, as do all non-shooting attacks). There are many rules around that change the value of cover (for example, a model might get +2 instead of +1), and many weapons ignore the saving throw bonus from cover. Cover is why you may want AP better than your target's armour minus 5, as AP and Cover will stack as any modifiers would, meaning you can use AP to counter Cover.

Invulnerability[edit]

Invulnerability shuts off AP by setting a point beyond which the save cannot get worse. For example, a model with a 5+ save but 6+ invuln can be modified to a 6+ through an AP of -1, but better AP than that does nothing. Widespread access to this rule is one of the reasons very good AP is less valuable than you might otherwise think; for example, "TEQ" units have 2+ armour and 5+ invuln, so even in cover, an AP of -4 and an AP of -5 hit exactly the same. Because most models do not have invulnerability better than or equal to their armour+cover if they do have it, guns with AP-1 are quite valuable (since, at worst, you can at least use them to bypass cover), but AP-5 weapons will very often find themselves shooting a model where all that AP does not help, either because its save is 3+ or worse to begin with, or because it has an invulnerable save of some sort.

Damage[edit]

Damage is rolled after saving throws are failed, and is less useful than Attacks when taking down a target, in general, because a target cannot take more damage than it has wounds. For example, a 1-wound model cannot suffer more than 1 damage, even from a 20 damage weapon, so the excess damage is wasted - a critical component of reasoning how many points you're willing to pay for a weapon. However, so-called "Feel No Pain" rolls, which typically look like this, exist:

Roll a die each time a model with this rule suffers a wound or mortal wound. On a roll of 6, ignore it.

  • Sometimes, the roll is a 5.

This rule does not do what it seems to, due to overloading of the word "wound" - you don't roll it in response to being successfully wounded, you roll it in response to being successfully damaged (i.e. after both the to-wound and saving throw steps), once for each damage point, and on a success, that point of damage is negated. This means a model with the above rule, a 6+ "FNP", rolls a die for each damage point it takes, and on a 6, that damage point does not happen. Because a model's ability to ignore damage in excess of its own Wounds applies after this step, you can use a high Damage weapon to help you more effectively kill a model with an FNP rule; this works exactly like rolling to hit: multiply the amount of damage the weapon inflicts by the target's FNP odds to get how much damage will usually get through its FNP. You can reduce this to its total wounds remaining to work out how much damage it will take, but be careful of taking averages.

For example, a 2-wound model being shot with a 1d6 damage weapon cannot take more than 2 damage from the weapon, so it actually expects to suffer 1.83 damage (1/6 odds of 1 and 5/6 odds of 2); with a 5+ FNP, the amount is 1.75, because the FNP expects to help when the damager rolls a 1 or a 2, but on a 3+, the model expects to die anyway.

Shooting 101[edit]

The basics[edit]

  • Choose a weapon to shoot with and throw a die. To hit, you need to score equal or higher than your BS (which may vary due to external modifiers).
  • With the loss of template and blast markers, associated weapons now get a random number of shots. As a rule, former template weapons hit automatically while you still need to roll for former blast weapons.
  • Rolling to wound:
    • Attacker's Strength greater than or equal to twice target's toughness: 2+
    • Attacker's Strength greater than target's toughness: 3+
    • Attacker's Strength equal to target's toughness : 4+
    • Attacker's Strength less than target's toughness: 5+
    • Attacker's Strength less than or equal to half of target's toughness: 6+

Henceforth, everything can hurt everything in theory (if you can throw enough dice and are also extremely lucky). And Strength value isn't capped at 10 anymore so you can bring the pain even to the toughest model with the help of the appropriate pain machine.

  • To compensate the (enormous) wound and toughness buff of practically everything except troops (and the disappearance of the AV system) a lot of heavy weapons now deal more than one wound per shot (it's notably the case of some well known big sticks like the lascannon, which gets 1D6 wounds per shot. Heavier weapons like the Reaper chainsword now sport 6 damage, and things like Volcano Cannons can do up to 12 damage per shot).
  • There are two ways to kill a tough unit: Either you use a high AP, high Strength weapon to greatly reduce the chance of the unit succeeding its armour save while maximizing the chance of it landing a successful wound, or you can attempt to overwhelm the unit's defenses and fire enough dakka into it to increase the probability of at least one of those shots dealing damage. Bring the appropriate amount of dakka to combat a heavy unit, lest you be the one shot to hell.
    • Example: Space Marine Terminators hate Guardsmen, Necron, and Tau bricks because they put out a fuckton of weak shots that will make them inevitably fail armor saves. Or rather than rely on 50 lasgun shots the guardsmen can instead bring a plasma gun that can flush their armor saves and instantly kill them. The plasma gun only needs to cook one terminator to make its points back. Conversely, the terminators can bring a heavy flamer and burn up 80% of the guard squad.
  • Consequently, using too many units on a weak enemy is a waste of firepower and resources. Every unit who is somewhere can't be somewhere else.
  • Although overkill is usually wasteful due to wounds no longer spilling over (with the exception of Mortal Wounds), lady luck might not always be on your side. You want to succeed even if plans A, B and C fail.
  • During your shooting phase, assess what target options each one of your shooty units has, and always have your units who only have a single option fire first. The reason for this is if you've got unit A in a position to shoot anything he likes and unit B which only has one thing to shoot at, you want B to take the shot first. If you shoot B's target with A first instead, you run the risk of destroying it or breaking their morale, and you'll feel like a complete moron for depriving B of anything to shoot at.

Advanced Notes[edit]

    • Though it's basic, it bears repeating: Always keep careful track of the order in which the models in your unit fire. A good motto is "Multi-Shot Weapons First", "Rank and File Weapons Next", "Single-shot Heavy Hitters Are Last But Not Least." If you don't, you may end up wasting shots from your best guns on targets that could've been taken down with less powerful weapons.
    • If you have ready access to powers that let you move and fire during the Shooting Phase, you can line troops down one attack vector. Units that can move after firing can move aside so they don't grant the enemy cover from your next firing squad (think of center-peeling and you're not too far off). Units that can move-then-fire in the shooting phase, you can further reposition your models based on any opportunities to hit the "next closest model".
    • If all else fails, you can aim to block visibility to the parts of the enemy unit you don't want to shoot. This is yet another reason why Rhinos and convoy formations can be nasty. You can play "Space Invaders/shooting gallery" with your troops forming a triangle, and firing at a distinct subset of models they wish to remove.

Assault (Charging and Fighting 101)[edit]

  • Assaulting is still somewhat unreliable in 8th, due to Overwatch and random charge ranges, but it can still be a highly effective way of dispatching your enemies. It's also very situational, so make sure you are familiar with just what your unit can do and to whom it can do it to best. You'll be primarily concerned with delivering your fighting men into assaults reliably and keeping them alive between combats. While Assault has more of an impact in 8th edition it's not the be all and end all. Remember, 7" is the average roll on a 2D6 charge and don't rely on overwatch to mow your opposition down before it gets to you, Assault is back and you'll regret it if you don't remember it.
  • Above all, kill them before they kill you, make sure you aren't charging a mediocre assault unit into a specialized assault unit!
  • Assaults happen twice per game turn for each player vs shooting's one (once during your own fight phase and again during your opponent's); therefore, between an equivalent melee and ranged weapon, the melee will do 2x as much damage with inherently more risk, provided you are the one Charged - the actual order of assaults, in general, are charger-chargee-chargee-charger-charger-chargee-chargee, and so on, so a charging unit is at an initial disadvantage if it does not kill its target, as it's about to receive twice the reprisal for charging.

Advanced Notes[edit]

  • As a general rule of thumb, you want to break or destroy your enemy in your opponent's assault phase. That way, your opponent does not have a shooting phase before your assault teams move towards their next target.
  • Generally speaking, Overwatch is more of an annoyance than a true threat, though certain rules, bonuses, etc. (Tau Supporting Fire/Counterfire Defensive Systems, flamers, etc) can take their toll, especially if you're relying on glass cannon units (Harlequins, notably). Some special "Negate Overwatch" powers exist, but there are other ways to mitigate the effects of Overwatch. Unlike 7th, there is no limit to what can fire overwatch or how many shots. Wyverns, for example, fire their regular 4D6 shots. Granted, they hit on 6s, but this can still hurt. During Overwatch, any ability that lets you re-roll all misses is much more effective.
    • Overwatch takes place before you move your charging unit, and is still subject to normal rules for Line of Sight, cover, etc. Moving a Rhino or other vehicle flat-out to block off models from shooting your chargers is always a valid trick.
    • If blocking Line of Sight is not an option, then aim to eat the overwatch. One way to do this is to have a "tanky" unit lead the vanguard. For example, when charging a unit armed with multiple flamers, have a fast monster/walker lead the charge.
  • Remember that pile-ins use the same overall rules for charging, and thus any unit must ultimately maintain coherency. When attacking a large spread-out unit, you can negate a lot of its strength by attacking on opposing flanks.
  • Multi-assaults are where things get interesting. Hilarity is forcing Rowboat Girlyman to waste his sword of doom attacks on rank-and-file Termagants while his bodyguard is being eaten alive by the nearby Carnifex!
  • The ability to quit close combats is a very powerful ability, especially if you have Fly. As long as their initial charge doesn't hit too hard, you can kite them all day with Fly.
  • In multiple or extended combats, casualty removals via pile-in are very tactical. By careful removal of casualties you can force enemies to pile-in in the direction YOU want them to.
  • You can charge multiple units with a single model as long as they can get within 1" of all the units. This makes models with a good defense and a big base good for soaking as many overwatching units as possible before sending in your other squads. Transports are perfect for this.

Morale 101[edit]

A unit loses additional models in the morale phase, in general, equal to 1d6 + casualties taken this turn - Leadership, but cannot lose more models than it has, of course. This means the smaller a unit, the less it needs to worry about Morale - a 1-model unit never needs to roll for it in the first place, since it can't be alive after taking casualties, for example. It also means the expected "further" casualties from morale start at a plateau of 0 where the unit is immune to casualties, followed by an accelerating curve up, then an accelerating curve down, then a linear curve down once the unit is being wiped out in the morale phase, so it loses one fewer casualty to morale with every additional one it took earlier. For example, a 10-model unit with Leadership 6, taking mounting casualties from 0-10, suffers additional casualties in the Morale phase, on average, as follows: 0, 1/6, 1/2, 1, 1 2/3, 2 1/2, 3, 2 5/6, 2, 1, 0. This corresponds to the unit being the following size (on average) after Morale: 10, 8 5/6, 7 1/2, 6, 4 1/3, 2 1/2, 1, 1/6, 0, 0, 0.

Vehicle Tactics[edit]

Ever since 8e made vehicles nothing more than a keyword which changes how some rules apply to them, vehicles require no tactics other than what you would apply to other models unless they fly.

An important note on Walkers[edit]

WARNING!: Tarpitting big hordes with a walker doesn't work anymore! In past editions it was a brilliant way to neutralize hordes by getting them stuck in combat forever with something that was mathematically impossible for them to kill. Two things in 8th edition utterly destroy this tactic.

  • 1: Anything can hurt anything if it rolls a 6 to wound. While Walkers essentially becoming Monstrous Creatures was overall a buff in that they no longer die if a Lascannon so much as glances in their general direction, it made them actually susceptible to enemies that kill things by spitting out massive fistfuls of dice and hoping to at least get a few 6s. Remember, small arms and hordes with multiple attacks don't have to get most of their attacks through, they only need to get ENOUGH of them through. And that's not even considering the overwatch shots your walker took getting into combat in the first place! Worst of all, many walkers have a damage table that causes their stats to drop as they take hits- the longer it's stuck in combat, the weaker that walker is going to become up until it's little more than a barely mobile junk pile that struggles to hit the broad side of a barn.
  • 2: The horde can simply fall back. Even if you manage to put a horde in a situation where a horde has almost no means of killing a walker, the horde can simply fall back and no longer be in combat. While that does still temporarily neutralize them as a threat for that turn, thus accomplishing your goal, the rest of their army can then freely shoot your walker, and THEN if you want to do it again it has to take another round of overwatch; this is even worse if said horde has a rule that allows them to shoot after falling back (such as the FLY keyword) since you then have to deal with another phase's worth of shots against your walker. in short, this tactic is effectively dead.

Dice Roll Math[edit]

  • It is almost always better to re-roll dice than to get +1. For instance, re-rollable 4+ has almost a 10% edge over 3+.
    • The exception is re-rolling 6's, which is 1/36 worse than 5+.
    • Because of how people throw dice, a re-rollable 2+ has a lower chance than math suggests. People tend to use the same rolling motions, which means those dice often end up in the same position ("1" both times).
  • The average of 2D6 is 7.
    • Average number of 3D6 is 10.5. 4D6 is 14.
  • Picking the highest of two dice adds about 1 (actually .9722....) to the average roll.
  • 4+ re-roll 5+ is the same as 3+.
  • Re-rolling 1s is always equivalent to multiplying your odds of succeeding by 7/6, which means, additively speaking, it's better the higher your original odds are: you'll get an extra success in every 12 dice for a 4+, 9 dice for a 3+, and slightly more than 7 dice for 2+ (actually 7.2).
    • Re-rolling all failures has a larger benefit the lower your original odds; you'll get an extra success every 4 dice for a 4+ base, every 4.5 (i.e. 2 successes every 9) for a 3+, and every 7.2 for a 2+.
  • The odds of getting a 9 or more on 2d6 is 10/36, a little less than a third (27.78%). Re-rollable, it's a bit less than half (47.84%)
  • And, if you're into it, there's MathHammer.
  • GW dice are not mathematically fair! This set of mathematical data presumes you are using perfectly balanced casino dice which are. See following for details. http://www.dakkadakka.com/wiki/en/That%27s_How_I_Roll_-_A_Scientific_Analysis_of_Dice

Individual Army Tactics[edit]

Each of these pages contains (or should contain) a section on:

  • "Why Play Them," which briefly summarizes the positive aspects of the army.
  • "Unit Analysis," a brief discussion of the benefits (or lack thereof) and drawbacks of each unit individually.
  • "Building Your Army," suggestions on how to buy, convert, and paint the actual models.
  • "Tactics," suggested viable builds for a complete army.

Imperium[edit]

Chaos[edit]

Xenos[edit]

Horus Heresy[edit]

A brief note: While most of the above follows the standard 40k rules as of 8th edition, the Horus Heresy armies use their own rule set based off of the 7th edition rules.

Homebrew Tactics[edit]


Warhammer 40,000 Tactics Articles
Imperium
Chaos
Eldar
Necrons
Orks
Tau
Tyranids