Warhammer 40,000/Tactics(8E)

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

Required Reading[edit]

Since you need a goddamn flow chart to figure out which books are needed to play the game anymore, here is a basic primer for new players. You are going to need the following in this order:

  • A copy of the Core Rulebook. That flyer you picked up at a test event or printed off online may have the base rules for the game, but the Core Rulebook will include details on everything else, including mission types, terrain, and stratagem use. So do yourself a favor and grab it.
  • A copy of your army's codex. This will have the majority of what you need to play said army, including unit entries, warlord traits, relics, stratagems, and point costs. Our own tactics pages contain some of that information, but for legal reasons we can't give full statlines and points costs for the units. If your army is one of those unlucky ones that has not gotten a codex yet, you should obtain the relevant index containing their information. As 8th edition ages, the indexes become out of date and less useful. The one exception to this are legacy units and legacy options that don't make it into a next codex.
  • Your army's online errata and FAQ printed off the main Games Workshop website. A version comes out shortly after each codex, and the game designers are not afraid to completely rewrite a unit's rules if they realize they fucked something up. GW also schedules a "Big FAQ" to come out twice a year to address balance issues as they come up and make wider, more sweeping changes they want to get feedback for before they're officially added to the core rules.
  • The most recent Chapter Approved (maybe). A grab bag of new rules, updates, and experimental shit. If your army codex came out in 2017, some of your units already have point costs changes contained within. If you have not received a codex yet, you can find a small consolation prize until they get around to you. If your army received a codex in 2018, skip it unless your group prefers the alternate mission options.

Other Reading

  • The Forge World Indexes, if you don't mind selling a kidney for resin.
  • The rest of the Indexes. As mentioned earlier, there are a handful of units that don't make the cut with each new codex. Sometimes the model itself was discontinued or never officially released. Sometimes the unit gets an updated entry minus an option or two that doesn't exist in a box kit. Every time this happens, someone gets butthurt over this shit, thinking that their favorite unit is getting squatted. They aren't gone and you can still use the Index version, which makes them useful as an archive, if nothing else. (be sure to read the factions FAQ though, as some declare index wargear non useable).

Listbuilding 101[edit]

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

Pick an army you like, for whichever reason, and memorize 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. HQs are almost always characters that either act as tough beatsticks or grant buffs to everyone around them; sometimes they can even do both at once.

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 through 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 are good for that. 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 people who love fielding teams of advance battlesuits and a more standard sci-fi force we have the T'au, 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.

Knowing the ruleset being used is also important: Matched Play is assumed to be the default in our articles, but a lot of alternate options open up when using the Power Level system featured in Narrative Play due to the majority of weapon upgrades being free under those rules. And of course, Open Play is even more of a divergence since it completely ignores the Force Organization Chart, keyword limitations, and any equivalent to points costs: instead, it's just about flooding the board with the most overpowered units you can muster, for better or worse.

A Note on Characters[edit]

It's been pointed out by many a player that quite a few characters, including most if not all current Chapter Masters, aren't quite as powerful as they were in 7th Edition. Dante is one example. In 7th Edition he was pretty awesome and had several very useful traits that allowed him to dominate. The same goes for other characters. Those aspects features less in 8th, as it appears GW have geared squads and characters towards a more realistic rule set. Okay, so Dante is a supremely skilled and capable leader in the fluff, but he's no god. 8th Edition seems to point towards getting players to use an army that has multiple parts that must work well together, much like a real army, in order to get the most out of them. To that end, the big guys, such as Primarchs and Daemons ARE really nasty, but most are over 10 wounds, so you can shoot on sight. In short, 8th Edition is Buff Edition, with only a small handful of exceptions that require specific builds to work properly. Use characters to get the most out of your other squads and vehicles. Azrael, the Dark Angels Chapter Master, is a great example, and works well with Hellblasters, allowing them to fire supercharged plasma shots with a greater chance of survival.

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" (TAC) 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 20 lascannons!"

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:

  • Strength 8+, D6 damage Generally, a good starting point for your army is to include enough models that can deal effectively with Toughness 7/8, 10+ wound enemies. Lascannons, brightlances, meltaguns, battle cannons, thunder hammers. Anything with strength 8 or more and dealing either 3+ or D6 damage is good. Whilst even a lasgun or boltgun can wound a battle tank with some lucky rolls, this is so ineffective that you can't rely on them to finish off a tank save in very large numbers (and if you have that many they should be shooting targets they're more likely to wound anyway). Strength 6 or 7 is not enough to reliably threaten Toughness 7 or 8 and typically only do 1 damage, but they can be used to supplement the above-mentioned weapons if needed.
  • Anti-infantry You will need something to take out massed infantry. Either units with weapons that can pick off infantry at long range of lasguns/shuriken/bolters, weapons with a lot of shots like burst cannons or assault cannons, or good assault units with a lot of attacks like Gaunts, berzerkers or ork mobs. Having AP on it is nice, but anything higher than AP-2 is overkill unless your opponent's troops are all MEQs at minimum.
  • "Plasma"-equivalent weapons Plasma and similar weapons (strength 6-8, 2 or D3 damage) are reasonably effective against both big units (tanks and monsters) and against infantry. However, they are never as effective as dedicated anti-tank weapons against tanks, or anti-infantry weapons against infantry. While plasma has it's place as a multi-functional weapon, it is best used alongside decent anti-infantry and anti-tank weapons as a sort of middle-ground, so it can respond to your opponent's composition. If he has a lot of tanks, it can be used as additional anti-tank firepower and serve quite well. If he has a lot of infantry, it is better at killing infantry than a lascannon (for the points you spend on it). However, its favored targets by far are heavy infantry units with 2+ wounds and high armor saves that are too tough to be reliably taken out by more common anti-infantry weaponry but aren't tough enough to justify the use of anti-vehicle weapons against them in normal circumstances- Terminators of all kinds, Tyranid Warriors, Ork Nobz, and so on.
  • 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 near him 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).
  • Command points or, "build an army, not a CP battery": In matched play and narrative play, Command Points give you access to Stratagems. These 'super-powers' for your army can make a big difference in how your army works, especially if you've designed your army with specific stratagems in mind. HOWEVER: having a lot of command points is NO substitute for a good army. Having a lot of command points may seem a good idea, and some armies have options to recover or steal more command points during the game to get even more. But what use are 10 command points if you only need 3 for your super stratagem and the rest are used on some non-critical re-rolls? If you end the battle with command points left over, you've got too many. If you think in turn 4 "I wish I still had command points for a re-roll", ask yourself what parts of your army you would have to give up to get more command points and if that sacrifice will have improved your army.
    • Use your command points wisely. Most command point abilities are very potent and will more often than not make the difference between who wins and who loses. Even two Brigade Detachments likely won't allow you to just waste them. A bad player could use 10 command points or more a turn. The smart thing is to use special abilities for your army as sparingly as you can. Make sure you know what stratagems are good options for your army and save your command points for these. Better to have CPs and not use them than to need them for your 'mega ultra killy combo' but run out the turn before.
    • Following the second Big FAQ, only 1 CP can be gained or refunded per turn unless using specific rules like the Tallyman's Seven-Fold Chant.
  • 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: Rock-paper-scissors level. At this level you're fielding an HQ and one or 2 units, so making a TAC list is very difficult.
    • 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.
    • 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 Titanic units, 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. Chapter Approved 2017 gives more information on how to run these kinds of games, although it strongly suggests that you just use Open Play to do so.

General Advice[edit]

  • 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 pure armies like the archetypes listed below take 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. This doesn't work for every unit, as for example terminators can be dealt with effectively by both anti-tank weapons and massed anti-infantry shooting.
  • 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:
    • 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 horde can make an objective nigh impossible for an opponent to take. While Objective Secured is in Chapter Approved and each Codex released has added an equivalent rule to its corresponding army, 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. Also, the amount of units with the FLY special rule in some armies (looking at you T'AU) means tarpitting won't work all the time.
    • Aspect armies: Eldar aspect warriors fall into this category, as do primaris marine armies. You have elite units, generally with good saves, but still weak against specific weapons. Each type of unit has its own role to play, and if your opponent takes out the two units that are a threat to him, you may suffer. Coordination and hiding your units behind terrain are key strategies to these armies as they don't always stand up to a straight shoot-out with most armies. When playing these elite armies, it is very important to be aware of what your army is weak against, and prevent your opponent from using his most effective units against you. Plus, with all of your units 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.
  • Succesful tournament armies generally have a few things in common:
    • Hard-hitting units. Things with high strength and either a large number of attacks/shots or multiple damage per wound (3, D6, or similar). Dark reapers, dreadnoughts, Manticores, death company with thunder hammers, crisis suit commanders with 4 fusion guns, etc.
    • Mobility. Whilst any unit can walk around and still shoot, succesfull armies have a way of getting a unit where they need it fast. Options include fast units like bikes, jump pack infantry, tanks or 'deep striking' units, wether normally or with some stratagems.
    • Survivability. In 8th edition, you need to be able to survive an opponents first turn with your key units intact. Either by fielding multiple key units, so your enemy can't take them out all at once, or by using transports or reserves/deep strike to keep them out of the way. Other options include penalties to hit for enemies, line of sight blockers or fortifications or characters that grant bonuses to defense.

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

Small units or big units: Utilizing multiple small units (MSU) has both advantages and disadvantages in 8th.


  • Small units don't suffer as much from morale. Either the unit is dead entirely, or you will have a good chance of passing the morale test.
  • Enemies will score overkill more quickly, wasting firepower because you have no more models to remove. An enemy may score 10 wounds on a 10-man unit, or split fire and score 7 and 3 wounds on 2 five-man units, leaving you with 2 living dudes.
  • You fill detachments faster with smaller units, granting more command points.
  • Its easier to find cover or block line of sight to a small unit.
  • When shooting, it's better to shoot with 2 five-man units than 1 10-man unit, because you can see how the first five do before deciding what to shoot at with the other five, preventing overkill.
  • Sergeants/leaders/etc. A unit often comes with a leader for free, with better stats. By taking multiple small units you get more leader-models for the same price.
  • Small units offer more flexibility in movement and can be used as speed-bumbs more effectively.


  • Small units are more prone to dying from overwatch
  • Small units don't fire overwatch as effectively as larger units
  • Big units are more resilient to being charged, as they have a good chance of surviving to strike back.
  • Big units have more attacks in combat so are more likely to cause significant casualties.
  • Stratagems. A lot of stratagems let a unit do something special, like shoot or attack an extra time. However, you can only use each one once a turn so these are much more effective on bigger units. If you have stratagems in mind that you think you might want to use, keep these in mind when deciding how many guys your unit will include.
  • 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, but not all models need to be a single unit.
  • The player with fewer(!) individual units will have a good chance of getting the first turn.

With the new Chapter Approved released, each unit in the 'Troops-Slot' gains an objetive secured special rule, allowing to take an objective even if the enemy has more models in range of the objective marker, as long as those models are not Troops themselves. This makes MSU built of Troops even more playable.

Stratagems 101[edit]

Stratagems are special abilities triggered by expending Command Points (CP). You can use as many Stratagems as you like so long as you have the points to use on them, but you can only use a single Stratagem of a given type in each phase. Stratagems have a wide variety of effects, from buffing your units to weakening enemies to inflicting mortal wounds. In Matched Play each stratagem of a given type can only be used once per turn, so make them count.

The exact mix of Stratagems available to your army depends on your chosen faction, the mission type, and whether you're the attacker or defender in said mission (if there is an attacker/defender). However, the following three Stratagems are available to everyone regardless of the circumstances. Learn them well, as they can save your ass:

  • Command Re-Roll (1 CP): Re-roll any single dice. Simple, but infinitely effective. Whether you're trying to wring out a little extra damage from a lascannon shot that rolled a 1 for damage or trying to re-roll a critical save, you will learn to love this Stratagem.
  • Counter-Defensive (2 CP): After an enemy that has charged fights, choose one of your units and fight with it next.
  • Insane Bravery (2 CP): Automatically pass a Morale test.
  • Prepared Positions (2 CP): This is a beta stratagem available in the 40k FAQ released on September 28 2018. This stratagem can only be used by the player going second in the first battle round. Use this Stratagem at the start of the first battle round, before the first turn begins. Until the end of the first turn, all units from your army that are wholly within your Deployment Zone, other than Titanic units, receive the benefit of cover, even while they are not entirely on or in a terrain feature. A unit that is already receiving the benefit of cover gains no additional benefit from this Stratagem.

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. 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 in most cases. The Dark Eldar faction gets bonuses for having multiple of these, due to them having multiple cooperating subfactions.

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: +5 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 will probably do best elsewhere, as troops are less integral in 8th and have to pull their weight a lot harder. (Adeptus Custodes are especially notable in this category, as their equivalent of ObSec applies to all their infantry and bikers, not just their Troops!)

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: +12 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. Fast Attack slots for several armies can also run quite cheap, again giving you an opportunity to snag an extra command point for little investment. A special shout out goes to the space wolves who can make an albeit non-competitive but very fun wolf list.

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 (or at least they did when it was possible to take multiple commanders in a single detachment). 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. The additional Lords of War slot is kinda pointless as Super Heavy Auxiliary detachments do exist, but it has its uses (e.g. you use the IG and want to give your Baneblade the benefits of a Regimental Doctrine without needing to take 3 of them).

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 knights, 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 Primarch/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; most fortifications are Unaligned by default
  • 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.
  • Another quirk of this detachment is that it allows you to field a dedicated transport without the accompanying unit. There are valid reasons to do this, as 7th edition showed, although the CP pinch is probably too steep a cost.
  • This detachment is actually useful when taking Characters in a mixed-gods Daemons army. The Characters in a Daemons army are the only units that benefit from their subfaction trait, and they only get said trait if their whole detachment is mono-god. So, take a Daemons soup Battalion, and an Auxiliary Support Detachment with an HQ or LoW. Think of it as paying 1 CP to get a sweet aura buff on your LoW or HQ.Though something to consider is that Daemons REALLY rely on their stratagem unless you like foot slogging your entire army across the board of getting ripped up by Grey Knights.
  • This detachment also works well if you're trying to circumvent the new ally rules. Want to take Celestine without having to fork over 80 bucks for a squad of sisters? This is your detachment of choice. Still, remember the CP penalty.

Specialist Detachments[edit]

Not a detachment on their own, Specialist Detachments are an upgrade to regular detachments and the spiritual successors of the 7E formations, but now they function like """premium""" Warlord Traits, Stratagems and Relics locked behind a 1CP paywall. More fluffy than OP (usually) and the real meat of Specialist Detachments are Stratagems (i.e. paid twice to use), so the fanbase didn't rage that hard this time. YET. Imperium Nihilus - Vigilus Defiant campaign supplement, 2018.

  • A detachment may be so upgraded only once, even if the Specialist Detachment upgrade affects different units in it.

Mix and Match Detachments[edit]

With the Codices being released, many armies are receiving "chapter tactics" or their equivalent. Basically, if the whole detachment belongs to a particular sub-faction like a Forge World or Space Marine Chapter they get a unique buff as well as access to WTs, relics, characters, and Stratagems that only their sub-faction can use. 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 sub-faction, with a notable exception in Tyranid HQs. 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 part 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. While there are a small number of characters that buff multiple factions (e.g. Roboute Guilliman, Abaddon, and Saint Celestine), these are the exception rather than the rule, and only some of their buffs affect multiple factions. As a result, 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. ADEPTUS ASTARTES), 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. Additionally, Matched Play only allows the use of multiple detachments from different factions if they share a common faction keyword as mentioned above.

  • Simultaneously, marine players who hasn't gotten a dex yet might find it in their best interests to bring a minor detachment of vanilla marines, as a significant portion of their Strategems can be used by marines outside the codex, same goes for DKoK, etc
  • Genestealer Cults are a special case in this regard; their Brood Brothers rule allows them to bring an allied Imperial Guard detachment for each GSC detachment taken, even though they do not have a common faction keyword.
  • FAQs have explicitly stated that detachments whose different sub-faction keywords (such as Chapter and Regiment have the same name do not allow buff sharing, so don't get cheeky by naming your custom IG regiment "Ultramarines" and expect it to do anything beyond making you look like a dick.
    • The first Big FAQ also prohibits "soup" Detachments of units which are from different armies but share broader keywords like IMPERIUM. They can still be taken in the same army, but they'll have to be in separate Detachments.

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:

  • 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.

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. Feel No Pain rules cannot stack with each other- only the strongest one is applied.

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


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.


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:


  • 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%


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. ceil rounds up to the nearest whole number (I.E. 3.1 will be rounded to 4) and floor rounds down to the nearest whole number (I.E. 4.9 will be rounded down to 4)
  • 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 outside of Titans, 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+


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 outside of things like that 2+ armor.

The other major caveats to cover here are cover and invulnerable saves.


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.

  • Certain units and terrain types (in the advanced terrain rules) have special rules which require additional restrictions regarding what units count as in cover or not. The best way to negate this if you want to maximize your output is to spread Anti-Armour units out across the board for as many viewpoints as possible. As for actually using this type of cover yourself, your best bet is to park these units inside a building or in a covered corner of the board where the opponent can't try to maneuver into a better place to shoot.
    • Most TITANIC units require you to have them in cover and be 50% or more obstructed from view from the shooter (and sometimes this simply doesn't apply to some models). This would found as a special rule of the TITANIC unit itself and is not, strictly speaking, a rule for all TITANIC models.
    • Woods require non-INFANTRY units to be in cover and be 50% or more obstructed from view from the shooter.
    • Ruins require non-INFANTRY units to be in cover and be 50% or more obstructed from view from the shooter.
    • Craters only provide cover to INFANTRY.
    • Barricades require INFANTRY units to be within 1" and behind it from view from the shooter. They do not provide cover to non-infantry.
    • Obstacles do not provide cover.
    • Imperial Statuary provides cover to MODELS that are within 3" and 25% obscured from the point of view of the firer.
    • Fuel Pipes require INFANTRY units to be within 1" and behind it from view from the shooter. They do not provide cover to non-infantry.
    • Battlescapes require non-INFANTRY units to be in cover and be 50% or more obstructed from view from the shooter.
    • Hills do not provide cover.
  • A special note that terrain obscuring requirements from the view of the shooter doesn't have to be obscured by the terrain feature itself. A Vehicle could be on a Battlescape terrain feature which did not conceal them, but if another terrain feature or model obscured at attacker's view of them, it would meet the requirement to be obscured from the view of the firer.
  • Many of the terrain types have additional special rules, but not rules related to meeting the requirements for cover saves.
Invulnerable Saves[edit]

Invulnerable saves 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 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).
  • 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.

Shooting tactics rule ONE (1): Shoot at something until it is DEAD/destroyed/exploded/raped/gone/**cked/smeared-across-the-floor. Seriously. Anything that is not dead can still hurt you. As the old Tactica Imperialis says: "Concentrate your fire on one target to the exclusion of all else. Once it is gone, choose your next target."

  • To compensate the (enormous) wound and toughness buff of practically everything except troops a lot of heavy weapons 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 (no such thing) 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.

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.(Changed in 8th) Now all units that charge attack before any Chargee units attack back.

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. Heck, throw a Rhino at your enemies before charging with those Assault Terminators.
    • An easy way to ignore Overwatch is to charge a model with FLY from behind LOS-blocking terrain (aka the 1st floor of a ruin if you're using ITC rules) because the model ignores moving through terrain. You do not need LOS to declare a charge, but your opponent always needs LOS to use Overwatch.
  • 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.

  • The morale phase happens after the psychic, shooting, and assault phases and any casualties from those phases are added together when testing morale.

Vehicle Tactics[edit]

Ever since 8e made vehicles nothing more than a keyword which changes how some rules apply to them, vehicles require no special 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. A crippled walker isn't necessarily dead, but it'll be about as useful as a dead walker for all the good it can do.
  • 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). So use a dice tower or roll your dice more thoroughly for a longer period of time in order to increase randomness and adherence to estimated made via mathhammer.
    • The only time you want a +1 To Hit instead of a re-roll is with Overcharged Plasma weapons or effects that proc off of 6+'s.
  • The average roll on a D6 is 3.5
  • The average of 2D6 is 7, 3D6 is 10.5., and 4D6 is 14 (add 3.5 for each die you roll).
  • 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.





Horus Heresy[edit]

A brief note: While most of the above follows the standard 40k rules as of 8th edition, the Horus Heresy (or "30k") armies use their own rule set based off of the 7th edition rules.

Homebrew Tactics[edit]

Warhammer 40,000 Tactics Articles
General Tactics